YouTube video of slam poet Julia Engelmann surpasses 7 million views

With 7,061,845 views to date, this video has set a new popularity benchmark for online poetry videos. It was first uploaded on July 1, 2013, and I’m not sure how rapidly it gained popularity — probably not quite rapidly enough to qualify as viral in the strict sense of virality according to that quote I shared in my post about “Speke, Parrot” last month: “A video … is ‘viral’ if it gets more than 5 million views in a 3-7 day period.” But I think we can agree that given the relative lack of popularity poets enjoy in Western European societies, 7 million views is extraordinary. “Speke Parrot” attracted the attention of the BBC after just 110,000 views in four days.

I’m indebted to Martina Pfeiler for bringing this video to my attention. I don’t know any German, so I asked her what the poem was about. She replied,

Julia Engelmann takes up Asaf Avidan’s Reckoning Song (One Day), which has 16,000,000 hits on YouTube. In numerous stanzas she talks about procrastinating on things rather than taking one’s life into one’s own hands. The final part of the poem turns into an appeal to do the things one really likes to do, so that by the end of one’s life one may have a chance to tell the stories that one really wants to tell about one’s life.

Dave is the founder of Moving Poems, and posts videos for his own poems (along with lots of other stuff) at Via Negativa. Here's a bio.