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David Foster Wallace News and Resources Since March 97

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Home News by Category This is Water Kenyon Grads Remember DFW?s Commencement Speech

Kenyon Grads Remember DFW?s Commencement Speech

It's worth checking out Kevin Hartnett's piece up over at The Millions - He Was Water: Kenyon Grads Remember David Foster Wallace’s Commencement Speech:
 
I recently began to wonder: What did the Kenyon grads think when they heard Wallace deliver it on that hot Ohio morning?  I was curious whether Wallace’s speech seemed important in real time or whether it was hard to perceive amid the hurrah of a graduation weekend.  This is a question to ask of any event that grows in significance over time, but it seemed particularly relevant here given the themes Wallace spoke about.  “The most obvious, important realities are often the ones that are hardest to see,” Wallace said in a slow, even voice.  I wondered if this same idea might have described the reception of Wallace’s speech as it echoed over the gathered crowd.
 
To answer my question I reached out to Kenyon grads through friends of friends and through the Class of 2005′s Facebook page.  “I’m a journalist writing a piece about the commencement speech David Foster Wallace delivered to your graduating class and I’m wondering if you’d be willing to answer a few short questions,” I said in my introductory email.  After hitting send, I often had the odd feeling that I was badgering these people.  I worried that they were tired of talking about an event that maybe had become more important to the rest of us than it had ever been to them.
 
 
 
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