It’s All Too Much: the ‘Whatfore?’ of Poetry

Wordle: Gestures ‘Poetry, poetry, whatfore art thou poetry?’

In the previous post I wrote about the friable nature of digital media; but, often analogue media does not fare much better. Humans are not gentle beasts and the destruction, intentional or unintentional, of libraries, archives and museums is old as Alexandria and recent as Iraq (2003), Weimar (2004),  and Egypt (2011).

Some of them do make it; but, is trying to give words wings, making a poetic gesture – like Occupy Wall Street or the Arab Spring – an endeavour that will be obscured in apathy and confusion, or flower into something enduring? Is writing worth it when the world is already full of really good poetry that not many bother to read anyway? Poetry, what for?

In answer I offer a quote from the poet Andrea Scarpino, featured in a recent issue of Blood Orange Review:

“There are millions of reasons not to write: earning an income, a beautiful fall day, that greasy brunch spot. What keeps me moving forward is a commitment to my own voice, my own stories, to sharing with others. A commitment to telling stories that I think need to be told. A commitment to sound and light and the ways in which language shapes our understanding of the world, the things that language can teach us about ourselves. And also, a rebelliousness. A friend once told me, ‘No one will make it easy for you to write.’ So sometimes, I sit down at my desk just to prove that I can. Because committing to my own writing can be such an act of rebellion, of going against the grain, of proving that no matter what the world thinks I should value, I value this.” – Andrea Scarpino

It is this gesture towards real communication, offered in the midst of the flash-flood of information that our culture deluges us with every morning as soon as we open our eyes, that is being offered by the poets who will be presented over the next 29 days. An arbitrary flower in the midst of chaos for you, the reader.

Take it.

~ by bonniemcclellan on January 31, 2012.

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