Why write poetry?

There’s a really interesting article in the new Writer’s Chronicle (Oct/Nov 2010). I haven’t had a chance yet to read it all, but here are a couple of things the writer, Frederick Smock, says early on that resonated with me:

“…asking students to find ‘the hidden meaning’ [of a poem] tells them, straight off, that whatever they felt upon reading the poem must have been wrong–because it was not hidden!”

“If the modern industrialized, digitalized world seems to diminish the value of the individual, then art may well be the last refuge of the humanized soul. ‘When we are told in dozens of insidious ways that our lives don’t matter, we may be forced to insist, often far too loudly, that they do,’ the poet Richard Hugo wrote, in The Triggering Town. ‘A creative writing class may be one of the last places you can go where your life still matters.’”

“‘Poetry’s work,’ wrote the poet and Zen adept Jane Hirschfield, in Nine Gates: Entering the Mind of Poetry, ‘is the clarification and magnification of being. Here, as elsewhere in life, attentiveness only deepens what it regards.’ When that regard is turned to the self, salvation can happen.”

October 1, 2010. Uncategorized.

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