Overcoming Stutter

Phil Kaye is a celebrated writer, poet, and teacher. In his poem Repetition, he explores the power of language and the effect of repetition on words. Underlying the poem however, is a story about the struggle and combat with speech impairment.

While Kaye has overcome his stutter, it is still a prevalent subject in his performances. Stutter is used as a delicate device in his performances as they bring honesty to the performance, allowing him to effectively communicate emotions, feelings, and scenarios.

Having developed a stutter at a young age, this poem details how Kaye was able to overcome the difficult speech disorder with extreme commitment and dedication to conquering words.

“There is no escape in stutter
You feel the meaning of every word drag itself up your throat
Stutter is a cage made of mirrors
Every “Are you ok?”
Every “What’d you say?”
Every “Come on kid, spit it out”
Is a glaring reflection you cannot escape
Every terrible moment skips upon its own announcement
Over and over until it just hangs there,
floating in the middle of the room
Mom, Dad,
I am not wasteful with my words anymore.
Even now after hundreds of hours of practicing away my stutter,
I still feel the claw of meaning in the bottom of my throat.”



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