Why Does Poetry Matter?

In this post, we address Poetry Matters Project’s central question, “Why does poetry matter?”  In an attempt to answer this question, we asked a variety of poets and people critical to the Poetry Matters Project why poetry mattered to them.  This is what they said: 

“I have been an advocate for poetry, reluctantly at first, for over sixteen years. I learned early on that a great number of people suppress their inner poet. The excuses are many — I can’t write poetry, I don’t understand poetry, I can’t make money with poetry, and so on. Once, I was one of these people. However, I began to see that the love of this great art form wells up in us as children, for example through nursery rhymes, only to be bullied out of us as we move onto ‘real life responsibilities’. 

When we started the Poetry Matters Project, our mission was to give back to a community which was reluctant to accept poetry as an important form of self expression.  I discovered the incredible importance of poetry as the project grew and we discovered more poets.  The poets even began thanking us for providing this art form as an outlet.

Poetry matters because without it there would be no way to describe what we experience, feel and observe in our world. I believe that poetry has an impact on the psyche. It moves the reader or listener, whether the stirring is positive or negative. It is one of the few subjective experiences left in our ever growing tech-soaked world.”

Lucinda Clark, Poetry Matters Project Founder 

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“Poetry matters because it captures remotest feelings and thoughts. It takes the mind and soul to a place where others fear to tread. Poetry allows us to be ourselves, to speak our mind, to laugh the healthiest laugh and cry the deepest cry. Poetry reveals who we are and how we want our space, our world, to be or become. As God’s creation, we speak and think and act poetically. Therefore we are poetry and poetry matters.” 

Emmanuel Kane, Author of Theaters of War (2006) and Growing Flames, Fury and Lavender (PRA Publishing, forthcoming)

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“Poetry matters because it is the most direct, succinct and beautiful expression of emotion or thought in words. It is the one verbal medium that allows the reader to see straight into the heart of the poet.”

Geza Tatrallyay, Author

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“because it treasures the history left behind by forgetful people

memory fragmentized in time by careless ones, and

fears unspeakable

regret never combed

loss not understood, or

anger can’t be appeased

as well as

LOVE relieves them all”

–  C.J. Anderson-Wu吳介禎, Author

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“Poetry has always been an outlet in my life. It is a way in that allows me to put my feelings in black and white.  

Poetry is like a deep river that runs through my soul. It is always there for me. Whenever I am thirsty, I can always dip my cup into the flowing water.”

– Sharon Schroeder, Author 

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“On a personal level, poetry is an outlet for me for thoughts, frustrations, emotions, feelings, etc. Things I have been mulling over in my mind find their way into my poetry.  Poetry is consequently often a healthy outlet. It matters to me. And I like to think I can write poetry that matters to others. 

On a broader level, poetry can be a powerful means of expression, carry a significant message, and often “stop you in your tracks”.

For something to matter, it should be of consequence, make a difference, and perhaps cause you to think or reflect on something in your life or the world. We are not alone. Poetry connects us. 

It has always been somewhat difficult for me to explain why poetry matters so much. It ‘s like asking “what is the meaning of Life”? It’s roots run deep, straight through the heart. Poetry is like the jig saw puzzle of life as it connects us in a way nothing else can.

My thoughts as of today. They might change tomorrow.”

– Roger Brock, Author 

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“Poetry matters because it accesses the inner dreams and fears of the human condition. Many of us are afraid of the truth. Poetry offers an outlet, letting the fearful know that they are not alone when it comes to being consumed by vices and worldly concerns. Poetry opens conversation, allowing us to share viewpoints on how we as people can make things better for the next generation, while at the same time, fulfilling our God-given purpose.”

– Calvin Pennywell, Author 

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Today, in this era of instant gratification, many people look at poetry as an unnecessary and antiquated art form.  Why read and analyze the written word when the same story can be experienced with less effort on the computer and television screen?  Faced with this difficult question, many people decide to shun poetry.  They lie, like defeated and dry sponges on the shore of a rising tide, and let technicolor stories wash over them, content not to experience what poetry may have to offer.

However, many people stress that there is something truly powerful and unique about poetry.  For example, in this post, our contributors persuasively speak about poetry’s ability to powerfully reflect the poet’s innermost thoughts and feelings.  In this way, poetry can serve as a creative outlet for those writing and, also, as a source of wonder and inspiration for those who read it. 

Personally, poetry has always mattered to me because it is exhausting.  Though poetry is often short in length, it requires a disproportionate amount of time and patience to truly appreciate.  However, by giving poetry the attention it deserves, the true beauty of the art form is revealed.  The responses from our contributors serve as testament to this. Poetry can change how you view yourself and the world around you.  It is a powerful and beautiful art form if paid attention to.  If you don’t believe me, simply discuss poetry with poetry enthusiasts.  Nowhere have I found a more passionate community. 

— Hudson Diaz

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Why Does Poetry Matter?

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