Last night, I was on the phone with a friend and found myself melting second by second as the conversation got deeper and deeper. The conversation was about poetry, but more specifically-spoken word. Yes, poetry and spoken word are slightly different but they present similarities. So, I found myself quite enthused in being apart of this conversation for several reasons.
1. Literature is my world. It almost seems like a necessity next to breathing, sleeping, eating, and drinking.
2. Poetry saves me from myself. Yes, it really does. I have many adventures in my own personal life, so poetry allows me to write about these adventures in a form that is very much expressive of my inner-being.
3. There aren’t any limits. Poetry is filled with limitlessness. There isn’t a wall or barrier. It’s pure freedom and you’ll able to enjoy this empty playground.
4. It’s political. Yes, I said it. Poetry can indeed be political. I’ve listened and watched many poets in my time and found this to be true. In many ways, political poetry have broken down barriers/boundaries/walls within many cultural contexts. Also, it creates new narratives that weren’t included before. Also, it allows for people from all backgrounds to become apart of a conversation that is open for all to join in.
5. It’s therapeutic. Yes, studies have shown this. I’ve read the studies. I’ve experience this therapeutic reality. Studies have shown that the usage of poetry allows for individuals to let out the inner-emotions that they hold within themselves. It allows individuals to recapture their issues and to work through whatever they are going through. Now, in the case of slam poetry…this is different. Many times, people find slam poetry(performance poetry) as being highly beneficial because there is an audience present and you’re able to sit among people that are there for the same reason. It creates a bond and a family. Also, in this atmosphere there is openness and you’re able to create/re-create/and explore different personas and ways of handling your personal problems. So, I found this as being extremely moving as an individual interested in poetry/literature/the arts.
So, I read today an article that goes along with this theme of ‘why poetry’. The article is called “Why Poetry Is Necessary” by Roger Housden. And a few quotes that I liked were:
“Poetry at its best calls forth our deep being. It dares us to break free from the safe strategies of the cautious mind; it calls to us, like the wild geese, as Mary Oliver would say, from an open sky. It is a magical art, and always has been — a making of language spells designed to open our eyes, open our doors and welcome us into a bigger world, one of possibilities we may never have dared to dream of.
This is why poetry can be dangerous as well as necessary. Because we may never be the same again after reading a poem that happens to speak to our own life directly. I know that when I meet my own life in a great poem, I feel opened, clarified, confirmed somehow in what I sensed was true but had no words for. Anything that can do this is surely necessary for the fullness of a human life.
Poetry reaches with its sounds and rhythms down below the realm of the conscious mind to awaken and nourish the imagination. In his poem, “Of Asphodel, That Greeny Flower,” WC Williams says:
It is difficult
To get the news from poems
Yet men die miserably every day
Of what is found there.”
I found these lines very moving for me and extremely inspirational. I can’t say more than that because these lines just tells it all.
Of course, you can get read the full article here: