So I’ve been ramping up a project for my gifted students to use Voki to virtually “perform” some original riddles and the thought struck me…for us introverted poets not likely to be the first to grab an open mic and belt our hot verse to the eagerly assembled masses, might this also be a nice shortcut to get poetry to the ears of a 21st century audience?

We know poetry readership isn’t exactly about to reach historical highs, but what if it came through the voice and performance of an alter ego/avatar? Would it become more accessible? Enjoyable?

Here’s my first experiment. I’ll be the first to admit there are a few awkward moments in the voicing–turns of phrase in which “Paul’s” (Voki provides a menu of male and female voices) robotronic origins betray him. Overall, however, I do think it’s fun.

Without further ado, here’s “Paul” performing my poem, The Saint and the Slug. Full poem included below just in case you don’t catch everything during the enrapturing live performance.

[You can click HERE to view if above link doesn’t work.]

The Saint and the Slug

by Ben Koch

some days you’re practically a saint,

the light from each incandescent bulb

reflecting off the diamonds in your smile

to evaporate the miseries

of every lost dog

or demon.

others you’re like a slug

pulling a chariot

of fat men hurling insults

and cups of piss

in your path.

either way, here’s a secret

the humming echoes of mind

have been whispering

all along—

rest in the Awareness

that sees

the saint and the slug,

’til the transparent seer

is a playground of boundless space-bliss.

About bensten

Teacher, writer, blogger and spiritual practitioner. Managing editor of

4 responses »

  1. bensten says:

    Kind words! I hadn’t thought of a virtual jam–that’s brilliant.

  2. bensten says:

    Thanks for the heads up. Could be a browser thing. I’ve add a more traditional link to it, as well, if you want to try that…

    I appreciate the read!

  3. melaniea73 says:

    Oooh, “…playground of boundless space-bliss” – I like that.
    The best is when you can hit Saint and Slug in the same day 🙂

    I thought this was creative.
    Let me know you ever host a virtual def Poetry Jam, because I would love to see that.

  4. good poem and idea but the voki didnt play for me

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