Tuesday, May 12, 2009

What are poets for?

This popped in my inbox the other day, as part of the Poem-A-Day program from Poets.org.  "Write a poem" is one of the items in my joy jar.  I haven't pulled it yet, but am anticipating it with excitement.  I haven't written a poem since Addie was a baby and will be glad to have permission to do it again.  Anyway, this one struck me, and I keep re-reading it, over and over again:

Poetry as Insurgent Art [I am signaling you through the flames] by Lawrence Ferlinghetti

I am signaling you through the flames.

The North Pole is not where it used to be.

Manifest Destiny is no longer manifest.

Civilization self-destructs.

Nemesis is knocking at the door.

What are poets for, in such an age?
What is the use of poetry?

The state of the world calls out for poetry to save it.

If you would be a poet, create works capable of answering the challenge of apocalyptic times, even if this meaning sounds apocalyptic.

You are Whitman, you are Poe, you are Mark Twain, you are Emily Dickinson and Edna St. Vincent Millay, you are Neruda and Mayakovsky and Pasolini, you are an American or a non-American, you can conquer the conquerors with words....


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