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Maya Angelou’s Poetry Read by a Really Creepy Robot

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This morning I woke up to the news that Maya Angelou had died. She was an amazing human and an incredible writer, so I wanted to go back and read my favorite poem of hers, “Still I Rise”.

When I googled it, the piece came up on Poem Hunter, so I clicked on it. Just as I started to read the poem to myself a robot voice began reading it to me. Then after a line or two of the poem, a video ad came up and when it finished, the robot voice continued the poem. It was the strangest thing ever and honestly, really disconcerting. Why was this robot asking, “Does my sassiness upset you?” and “Did you want to see me broken?/Bowed head and lowered eyes?” Why did it say:

You may shoot me with your words,
You may cut me with your eyes,
You may kill me with your hatefulness,
But still, like air, I’ll rise.

Was my computer warning me, through a Maya Angelou poem, that the great robot uprising was already coming to pass?

I clicked around a few other of the Top 500 Poems and realized they ALL had the same robot narrator. And then it dawned on me, we are at such a sad state in literature that only robots are reading poetry these days! For shame on all of us.

For reals though, it’s a really strange thing to have on a poetry site and I imagine it’s only done so they can make money off of video ads. Regardless, if you’ve ever wanted to hear a robot do a really terrible job of reading a beautiful and inspiring May Angelou poem here is your chance. Prepare to be really creeped out:

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Broke-Ass Stuart - Editor In Cheap

Broke-Ass Stuart - Editor In Cheap

Stuart Schuffman, aka Broke-Ass Stuart, is a travel writer, poet, TV host, activist, and general shit-stirrer. His website is one of the most influential arts & culture sites in the San Francisco Bay Area and his freelance writing has been featured in Lonely Planet, Conde Nast Traveler, The Bold Italic, and too many other outlets to remember. His weekly column, Broke-Ass City, appears every other Thursday in the San Francisco Examiner. Stuart’s writing has been translated into four languages. In 2011 Stuart created and hosted the travel show Young, Broke, and Beautiful on IFC and in 2015 he ran for Mayor of San Francisco and got nearly 20k votes.

He's been called "an Underground legend": SF Chronicle, "an SF cult hero":SF Bay Guardian, and "the chief of cheap": Time Out New York.

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