Mary Karr Delivers Commencement Address at Syracuse University

By Maryann Yin 

Famed poet Mary Karr gave a commencement address at the graduation ceremony for Syracuse University’s class of 2015. The video embedded above features Karr delivering her speech. has posted Karr’s piece in its entirety.

Here’s an excerpt: “The real purpose of poetry, W.H. Auden said, is disenchantment. Not to throw fairy dust in somebody’s eyes, it’s stripping away what’s false so you can see what’s true underneath. I like to say poetry has to disturb the comfortable and comfort the disturbed.”

In the past, a great number of authors have given moving commencement speeches. Atonement novelist Ian McEwan spoke about the importance of free speech at the 2015 Dickinson College’s graduation. Coraline writer Neil Gaiman’s 2012 “Make Good Art” talk went viral. Harry Potter series author J.K. Rowling’s 2008 “Very Good Lives” talk has drawn more than 1.5 million views on YouTube.