David Foster Wallace Kenyon College commencement speech (full audio)

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Jon Stewart College of William & Mary Commencement Speech

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Harold Pinter: Art, Truth & Politics (2005)

In 1958 I wrote the following:

‘There are no hard distinctions between what is real and what is unreal, nor between what is true and what is false. A thing is not necessarily either true or false; it can be both true and false.’

I believe that these assertions still make sense and do still apply to the exploration of reality through art. So as a writer I stand by them but as a citizen I cannot. As a citizen I must ask: What is true? What is false?

Truth in drama is forever elusive. You never quite find it but the search for it is compulsive. The search is clearly what drives the endeavor. The search is your task. More often than not you stumble upon the truth in the dark, colliding with it or just glimpsing an image or a shape which seems to correspond to the truth, often without realizing that you have done so. But the real truth is that there never is any such thing as one truth to be found in dramatic art. There are many. These truths challenge each other, recoil from each other, reflect each other, ignore each other, tease each other, are blind to each other. Sometimes you feel you have the truth of a moment in your hand, then it slips through your fingers and is lost. Читать далее

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Stephen Colbert Northwestern University Commencement Speech

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Tom Hanks Yale University Commencement Speech

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Amy Poehler: You Can’t Do It Alone (2011)

Good afternoon thank you for that beautiful award and for giving me a symbol of an animal that is one its way to extinction. I will find a prominent place in my garbage for that later on tonight. thank you very much.

Friends Romans Countrymen, lend me your beers. I am honored that you chose me to help you celebrate your graduation today. I can only assume I am here today because of my subtle and layered work in a timeless classic entitled «Deuce Bigelow: Male gigolo». And for that I say, you’re welcome. I’m truly, truly delighted to be her at Harvard . I graduated from Boston College. Which some call the Harvard of Boston.

But we all know that Harvard is the Harvard of Harvard. And you can quote me on that. I have to admit I am very surprised to be here because like so many of you, I was pretty convinced the Rapture was going to happen. Show of hands, How many of you woke up on Sunday and thought: You’re kidding me! I sold all of my belongings I told my boss to shove it and we are still here? I understand how you feel. I am so mad at Heaven right now. So I tried to write today’s speech the way I wrote everything in College. Stayed up all night, typing on a Canon word processor while listening to Sir Mixalot. to be fair, first I took a nap, I ate a large pretzel, I cried a little bit and then I went to see that movie, Fast Five. Читать далее

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Amy Poehler Harvard University Commencement Speech

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J. M. Coetzee: He and his man (2003)

But to return to my new companion. I was greatly delighted with him, and made it my business to teach him everything that was proper to make him useful, handy, and helpful; but especially to make him speak, and understand me when I spoke; and he was the aptest scholar there ever was.

— Daniel Defoe, Robinson Crusoe

Boston, on the coast of Lincolnshire, is a handsome town, writes his man. The tallest church steeple in all of England is to be found there; sea-pilots use it to navigate by. Around Boston is fen country. Bitterns abound, ominous birds who give a heavy, groaning call loud enough to be heard two miles away, like the report of a gun.

The fens are home to many other kinds of birds too, writes his man, duck and mallard, teal and widgeon, to capture which the men of the fens, the fen-men, raise tame ducks, which they call decoy ducks or duckoys.

Fens are tracts of wetland. There are tracts of wetland all over Europe, all over the world, but they are not named fens, fen is an English word, it will not migrate.

These Lincolnshire duckoys, writes his man, are bred up in decoy ponds, and kept tame by being fed by hand. Then when the season comes they are sent abroad to Holland and Germany. In Holland and Germany they meet with others of their kind, and, seeing how miserably these Dutch and German ducks live, how their rivers freeze in winter and their lands are covered in snow, fail not to let them know, in a form of language which they make them understand, that in England from where they come the case is quite otherwise: English ducks have sea shores full of nourishing food, tides that flow freely up the creeks; they have lakes, springs, open ponds and sheltered ponds; also lands full of corn left behind by the gleaners; and no frost or snow, or very light. Читать далее

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Sue Monk Kidd: Necessary Fire (2010)

I am so happy to add my voice to my daughter’s and tell you what an honor it is to be at Scripps College and to offer a commencement address, along with her. About all a commencement speaker can really do is to suggest a couple of things that she believes really matters. And Ann has offered this idea, along with your senior speaker, I think. It was a very similar idea, in fact. That it is important, that it matters, to listen to what is inside of yourself and discover your necessary fire, and that, in fact, this may be the way your particular genius is found.

What I’d like to add to that is that your necessary fire is not only necessary for you, it is necessary to the world itself. Years ago, I came upon a memorable line by the writer Fredrik Beatner. «You are called to the place where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet.» I would even go so far as to say that one of the more powerful outbreaks of happiness and meaning in your life will occur when you pair your passion and the world’s need.

Even as a child, my passion was writing. I felt back then, that I had found my small true light. Later on, of course, I lost it. Actually it was more like turning my back on it and finding something more practical. When I went to college in the sixties you found something that you could fall back on; at 29, however, I began to feel and internal sense of exile, a kind of homesickness, for my own place of belonging in the world. And on the morning of my 30th birthday I announced to my husband and to my two toddlers who were sitting at the table that I was going to become a writer, and they went right on eating their cereal. Читать далее

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Sue Monk Kidd Scripps College Commencement Speech

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