Poetry is the language of awareness. Poets are the translators of passionate experience. Meaning that their desire is to evoke a sensorial response in readers, deepening our inner and outer awareness by recreating or imagining with our senses – seeing, hearing, tasting, touching, smelling – the world presented on the page.
When we are in school, rather than cultivating the pleasure of reading poetry, most often poems are dissected and analyzed. And, like mathematics, if we don’t connect to or understand the analysis, we assume that we don’t “get” poetry so we stop reading it. This is truly unfortunate because throughout history poets and poetry have been the seers and change agents, who challenge our values and invite us to be more fully human by stirring the matters of the heart into action.
Poetry comes in so very many forms. Some poems tell a clear story, some focus on the sounds of language, others focus on the cadence, the rhythm of language. Some center on visual images, some strive to stir political, social or ecological consciousness. Some bring attention to beauty while others tap into the terror of this world. Some desire to stir inner change; others are a call to outer action. Some are obscure and experimental while others are completely straightforward. All are by the design and desire of the poet – the artist – creating them.
I invite you to consider that poetry is meant to be felt and experienced. What you feel and experience is yours and yours alone. There is no right way or wrong way to read it or feel it. And let me assure you that you will not connect with every poet’s work! However, when you find one who moves you, read their work, not to understand every word but to drink in the essence of how it makes you feel.
Poetry is about nurturing the soul and stirring the heart. And, these days, we could all use a little more of that, don’t you think?