Saturday, April 6, 2013

Pools of Humanity, Oceans of Self

National Poetry Month is so critically important. More than anything, I write poetry to get others to step back from themselves and their slavery to their calendars; to allow them to look at something I’ve experienced and use the text as a mirror for their own emotion; to remind them, if only subtly, that we are all interconnected by the lives we touch and the things we do, or see, or instinctively know, or want to know. The way the sunset hits the mountain could be a dimly registering echo of home. The ostracism and angst felt by a first-time poet’s narration could recall similar instances of alienation for the reader. Even if it’s just an evocation of emotion rather than an explicitly stated situation, we dive into pools of humanity when we read poetry; we swim in oceans of self.

Finding meaning in the most vague, interpretation-laden texts is a pursuit that is not only noble, it is so accurately a mirror of the human condition that to deny its impact is to deny what makes the universality of poetry so universal. We, as people, are called to read between the lines of our friends’ conversations; to guess at what people are saying in the workplace through the linguistic obstacle courses of doublespeak and professionalism; to take to heart and drink in deep the lessons imparted to us by our family. Poetry takes all of that and removes the hyper-individualization through its existence as writing—but keeps the intimacy of a personalized experience through the act of reading it.

Poetry reminds us elegantly, in the most balletic and delicate way possible, as to why we are alive.

by Luke Miller, intern

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