The Poetry Question

Discovering the Relevance of Words

The Purpose of Poetry

If you look through the vast cannon of literature you will find people throughout all of history talking about the same things. The joys of life. The perils of life. Love gained, love lost, love kept out of reach. Freedom-what it means, how it’s achieved, the benefits of having it and the despair that comes when it’s taken away. The realization of our mortality and the frightening reality of death. These, and many more, are the subject of billions of conversations, letters, songs, poems, and novels. Humans have a need to discuss and contemplate the events of our lives. We have a strong desire for companionship, someone to share in all of the joys and perils that we experience. Many of us feel the need to record all of these things so that we can share them with each other and with future generations in order to let them know that they are not alone in their struggle.

The harsh reality is that none of us will make it through this life alive; so, we must live on through memories and words that we leave behind. Poetry gives us an opportunity to achieve this. We can harness all of our emotional baggage and release it onto the page. We can record our memories so that other people can relive those experiences after we are gone. We can record all of our transgressions, all of our failures, and maybe the next generation can learn from our mistakes. Your poetry could describe a landscape that a future generation no longer sees. Your words could inspire revolution generations from now on a different planet. Who knows what purpose your words might serve. Even if your poetry serves no other purpose then to let the words flow from your fingertips instead of building up inside of you it has served a purpose.

This same piece, by a different mind in a different time and a different place, has been spoken, heard, written, and read a million times over. The words are unique from my mind to your screen but the ideas behind them are the same. We have more avenues to pursue poetry then any other generation in the history of mankind. Poetry is a part of us all and we should use it as the generations that came before us have used it, to record the human condition. Your words serve a purpose; they serve to prove that you lived, that you “improve(d) upon the blank page” (Nicanor Parra). I implore you to write, to read, to watch, and to listen!

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This entry was posted on January 16, 2014 by in COMMENTARY and tagged , , , , , , , , .

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