“Accents” by Denice Frohman


I’m Denice Frohman, and this is “Accents.” my mom holds her accent like a shotgun, with two good hands. her tongue, all brass knuckle slipping in between her lips her hips, are all laughter and wind clap. she speaks a sanchocho
of spanish and english, pushing up and against one another, in rapid fire there is no telling my mama to be “quiet,” my mama don’t know “quiet.” her voice is one size better fit all and you best not tell her to hush, she waited too many years for her
voice to arrive to be told it needed house keeping. English sits in her mouth remixed so “strawberry” becomes “eh-strawbeddy” and “cookie” becomes “eh-cookie” and kitchen, key chain, and chicken
all sound the same. my mama doesn’t say “yes” she says, “ah ha” and suddenly the sky in her mouth
becomes a Hector Lavoe song. her tongue can’t lay itself
down flat enough for the English language, it got too much hip too much bone too much conga too much cuatro to two step got too many piano keys in between her teeth, it got too much clave too much hand clap got too much salsa to sit still it be an anxious child wanting to make Play-Doh out of concrete English be too neat for her kind of wonderful. her words spill in conversation between women whose hands are all they got sometimes our hands are all we got and accents that remind us
that we are still bomba, still plena you say “wepa” and a stranger becomes your hermano, you say “dale” and a crowd becomes a family reunion. my mother’s tongue is a telegram
from her mother decorated with the coqui’s of el campo so even when her lips can barely stretch themselves around english, her accent is a stubborn compass always pointing her towards home.

100 thoughts on ““Accents” by Denice Frohman

  1. Bereavement. Homesickness. A first kiss. Experiences like these transcend our rational understanding of the world. In such moments, we need poetry. That's why we're excited to have paired contemporary and classical poems with award-winning animators to help us all better understand the most inexplicable parts of life. We hope you love these poems as much as we do! Check out the whole series here: http://bit.ly/TEDEdTheresAPoemForThat. Let us know in the comments which poems you'd love to see animated as part of this series.

  2. Essa deve ser uma daquelas animações premiadas em festivais de curtas …

  3. ♥ this one! The final verses were so beautiful. Thank you!

  4. I'm sorry, you lost me when you called the English language "neat". This language is a trainwreck and frankly I'm embarrassed to speak it. I wish English was as clean and orderly as Spanish

  5. This describes my mother's accent to a T and I cried a little. Never knew there was a poem that could explain it so well but now this means the world to me. Thank you Ted-Ed.

  6. Seriously one of the most enticing poems I've ever heard. It moved me in a way that I got swept away completely with the meaning of every word. With the animation, I found myself trying to consume every word. This poem is full bodied. Absolutely gorgeous.

  7. I'm doing a science project on the bombardier beetle(remember that video)… But what I haven't understood is how the bombardier beetle survives the spray, if it is sprayed on its feet or the exoskeleton itself? I mean i understand how the internal tissues are protected… But what abt the external body parts?? Please answer

  8. this was my first time really enjoying hearing poetry. maybe it’s the amazing animation. maybe it’s because this subject connects to me personally, having an immigrant family. maybe it’s the amazing voice of the narrator. whatever it is, i loved this

  9. This series of poems is uplifting! Thank you Ted Ed for showing us beauty !! Waiting for the next one with great anticipation….

  10. Snaps to the poet, claps to the animator. I love how ted ed always finds a great animator to fit the aesthetic/message of the videos, it's almost an art in itself😄

  11. Hey Ted-Ed !! Can you please consider my poem and please help me to grow as a poet. For starters I have a blog and here's a link of it https://anotherfancyname.blogspot.com . I think my poem "the old man I see " would be great for an animated video

  12. This is too beautiful. The imagery is splendid and the finale verse gave me goosebumps.

  13. As someone that lived abroad for several years this really brought a tear to my eye

  14. The stubborn compass that points you towards home…
    Whether you want to or not

  15. Hey, can we get an animation of Sylvia Plath's Daddy.

  16. Speak and say whatever you think it's your toung your mind the important thing is to understand the feels

  17. "English. Be too NEAT for her kind of WONDERFUL." I love it. 💓Thank you for bringing this poem to life. I adore it, and the love this poet obviously holds for her mother is incredible.

  18. the girl who talked sounds like the producer for tasty / buzzfeed she is on the 30 day of doing 100 squats challenge

  19. Never Can a body sit still for when Salsa glides into any room

  20. Accent will be your sales. Your key performance. Love it. 😍😍😍😍

  21. Didnt quite get it , but was glued due to the amazing motion graphics

  22. Thank you so much TED-Ed! I hope i can be confident with my accent

  23. i'd really love to see an animated reinterpretation of "what the living do" by marie howe, one of my personal favorite poems! i love how alive and expressive the narrations and animations are for this series, thank you so much to everyone who worked on it for introducing such works of art to us!

  24. Another awesome work Ted ed! The animation correctly relates to the lyrics… great job! You guys are the best! Please continue the poem series because I would love some more poems too 😊👌

  25. It reminded me that my mother can’t be told to sit still or speak English, she heard that for to long. Her voice isn’t imperfect it’s the English language that’s to stern for her flowy beautiful ways of speech. It reminds her of who she is and I shouldn’t be embarrassed of it, I should embrace her “ compass”

  26. I used to have a dutch boyfriend who laughed at me because i couldnt properly pronounce english (even if it was perfectly understable ) saying his pronuciation was perfect but he spoke just like any dutch speaking english, pretty sad he couldnt understand even if i have a strong spanic accent i still speak 4 lenguages

  27. That was amazing, I don't know why but I feel enlightened from hearing that

  28. As a linguistics student and native spanish speaker I fell in love with every second of this <3

  29. Please make: Maya Angelo’s I know why the cage bird sings.

  30. Wow, the visuals and the words. This is purely an inspiration, a dimension, and a human art. Thank you for all who put their hearts into this!

  31. Does anyone know how to make this type of video? What is this animation form called?

  32. Love your series on literature and this one on poetry… Please cover Sylvia Plath's Mirror… Thanks!!!

  33. Give us more… Plz…
    Sonet 18….Shakespeare…
    To autum…
    How do i love thee….as like sp

  34. I love this poem. It really embodies the way that our accents can form part of our identity and link us to where we are from

  35. Sounds like a lot of national pride what we need is for immigrants to disavow their cultures and for contries taking in immigrants to disavow their culture the only way this global village is going to work is to be truly multicultural that means put an end to this histerical nationalism and abandon your heritage. Can we get a poem by Bob Marlie – one love- one planet- one culture – one collective- one of us- one of usss!- I love the latinus accent so much testosterone mixed with that deep estrogen music to my ears

  36. And i always was shy because of my accent. Also because of my bad english grammar…

  37. I’m sorry the speaker made me think it was an African accent in the beginning…

  38. Amazing poem… I can't stop hearing it. Again, congrats for the series.

  39. Oh wow. I normally hate poetry but this is amazing. They way she enunciated and pronounced everything, it sounded so gorgeously important and regal. The animation made it easier to understand the imagery, but the imagery itself was exemplary. I really like this.

  40. As an Indian I find this interpretation of accented English profoundly heartwarming. Billion love filled gratitudes your way!

  41. Denise Frohman performed this for me about 6 years ago at the Queen in Wilmington, DE and I didnt know it would get this noticed. Wow.

  42. Thank you so much for writing this poem. Thank you ted for give this to me.

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