What is poetry for?
Some people say poetry is dead.
Some people say poetry is irrelevant these days.
Some people are silly.
Poetry is where language is most alive.
We are surrounded by dead language – by advertising slogans, by management speak, by unthinking gossip, by pompous diatribe, by tired metaphor and political propaganda.
Poetry can never be these things.
Poetry does not carry an agenda. Poetry possesses no direct intention. Poetry has no design.
Poetry, like some music, is an attempt to articulate that which is most difficult to articulate.
Poetry’s subject is that which you’re struggling to say, that which is lurking beneath language, that which is only an inkling.
A new poem has never been heard before. If it has, it’s not poetry.
Every poem is an attempt at poetry. Poetry can never be wrong.
Poetry is the point where the inner world and the outer world come together and form rich seam of language.
This seam of language is the bridge between the inner and outer worlds; language is both an internal and an external event. Poetry is this seam at its most concentrated, it’s most effervescent.
What then is poetry for?
Poetry expresses the inexpressible.
Poetry articulates the deeper experience of being alive.
Poetry invests language with new life.
Poetry gives you the sudden and powerful glimpse into the inner world of another human creature.
Poetry creates a fluid world, where no one experience is more valuable than another and no-one’s experience is more valuable than anyone else’s.
Poetry connects us to each other across centuries, across continents, across chasms of all kinds.
Poetry shakes you up.
Poetry reinvents language again and again, imbuing the public language with rich personal meaning.
Poetry teaches us to think metaphorically, to constantly strive to see things anew, to play with how we experience life.
Like science, poetry is an attempt to define truth. Unlike science, the truth is your own.