Discovering the Relevance of Words
Happy Poetry Day! I think. I mean, yeah, it’s National Poetry Day, but who cares, right? I mean, who writes poems anymore anyway?
I want to believe that poetry is more alive now than ever. I mean, more cities hold weekly poetry events, the Individual World Poetry Slam is only a week away. It has to matter, right?
My issue is that Poetry is changing, and while it seems that there is a large audience for performance poetry, it’s a very secluded audience, and it seems to only spread via word-of-mouth. My students don’t know about it unless I mention it. They don’t even associate hip hop with poetry. Frankly, they don’t associate anything with poetry unless prompted. In yesterday’s QOTD, they were asked what THEIR poetry was. They gave some fascinating responses that you can read HERE. While it seems that they at least recognize that poetry exists, they don’t run to it as previous generations did.
Where did we lose poetry? Why is it such a secluded art form?
Jessica Care Moore, a very well-known poet of our generation, told me yesterday that we need to teach poetry that is alive. But what about the masters? Do we ignore Blake, Shelly, Yeats, and Donne? Do we act as if they never existed? What about Langston Hughes, or Slyvia Plath, or Sharon Olds? What poets aren’t “dead?”
I want Poetry to reach out to my students, grab them by their ears, and much like Carolyn Forche’s Colonel, give the “something for their poetry.”
So, happy National Poetry Day. I think.