Can Poetry matter? Share your thoughts with us

Can Poetry matter? Once it was a very hot topic in USA.  Thanks Dana Gioia,

Now read what our poets say. Check Mississauga News and respond to us:

Professor at University of Toronto, Richard Greene

I am like a fish asked to discuss water.

Parliamentary Poet Laureate of Canada,  George Elliott Clarke

It is organic, physical, and as instinctive to human beings as is breathing. When I am depressed or when I am gay, I want words to augment my feelings. I want
words that help me cry or make me laugh. So, poetry is irrepressible.
The singular influence on my work is Ezra Pound. But the poetry that I’m most
passionate about is Bob Dylan’s.

First Poet Laureate of Edmonton, Alberta, Alice Major

Poetry matters because language is our human birthright. We carefully learn its sounds and rhythms as infants, we play with it all the time — and then we forget how to play. But it is the serious playfulness of poems that makes words matter, makes them resonate and stick with us. When we need to say important things, we turn to poetry.

Windsor Poet Laureate, Marty Gervais

Poetry is in all of us. Sometimes it is an unused muscle. It should not surprise us, because we all have the capacity for imagination, for finding the right word to praise what’s good in all of us. We turn to poetry in times of happiness, in times of sadness, in times of profound changes and challenges in our lives. Itmatters that we indulge it.

My influence is Shakespeare and the Dark Lady sonnets. At the age of 13, I was turned on to these poems, and decided I wanted to be Shakespeare. The language, the joy in his words, the perspective of someone singing about life, about a particular muse, about joy was what turned me on to poetry. I have never looked back.

Brantford Poet Laureate, John B. Lee

The making of and the reading of poetry, like every other of the arts, is an essential human activity.  When I was a young man, I was both an avid reader of poetry and an enthusiastic practitioner of the making of poems.  When I was a very young preliterate lad, I imagined the meaning and the mystery of words.  I scribbled in books with a scrawl that approached something between a loop of string, a thready worm and a wild cardiogram.  When I was read to by my father, he read poems by Edward (Bud) Guest, and by my mother, I was introduced to the rhymes of Mother Goose.  I absolutely loved the most mimetic of rhymes having to do with the farm, lambing, wool, and the garden and the pasture.  Little boy blue come blow your horn … Mary had a little lamb … Jack and Jill went up the hill … Mary Mary quite contrary …  even the more urbane verses concerning Old King Cole, and Humpty Dumpty, and London Bridge … I was wild with song …

Then I read “Fern Hill,” and the rest, as they say, is history. Poetry.  Dictionary music.  Words that sing.  These were a lifeline to me.  Poetry is now, was then, and always will be essential as breathing.  Breathe in.  Breathe out.  The music in words, the play of syllables, the lovely alliterative lilt of consonants and the ululation of vowels … the deep and resonant response in the tuning fork of flesh and bone … how could poetry not matter when it is as necessary to life as water.

I cannot imagine the poverty of life without music and poetry.
Why?  Because I am aware of deep need.  How we strive to give meaning, to find meaning, to see meaning in life.  And poetry is an affirmation of significance.  All poetry that celebrates, gives value to, and illuminates the inner life and makes a connection between soul and spirit is the poetry I value.

Dylan Thomas’ words at the end of his dedication in his Collected Poems rang true for me as a sixteen year old lad when I first found that book in the school library, took it home and drank deep from the language of the sea, and they ring true for me today.  He ended his dedication with these words:

“I read somewhere of a shepherd who, when asked why he made, from within fairy rings, ritual observations to the moon to protect his flocks, replied: ‘I’d be a damned fool if I didn’t!’  These poems (meaning Dylan Thomas’ own poems) with all their crudities, doubts, and confusions, are written for the love of Man (read humankind – my word) and in praise of God, and I’d be a damn’ fool if they weren’t.”  Dylan Thomas, November 1952

So, in answer to what poets and what poetry for me … I’d say every poem that aspires to give me the universe entire.  The mind, heart, body, soul and spirit in one surround.  And I linger in the contemplative dictionary music of a singlepoem aswim in impossible possibility that the mystery might be glimpsed if only for a fleeting moment in and through and of language.  That possibility of grace we humans aspire to.  Belonging and being of the thing we contain, soul within spirit, resonating and harmonious mammal and cosmos scintillating luminous dust.

Mississauga Youth Poet Laureate, Rebecca Zseder

Of course poetry can matter. Poetry can change lives. It changed mine.Poetry itself allows for an entirely new outlook on life. Through poetic analysis and creativity, the world comes alive and everything can be seen in brilliant colour. Poetry matters because it means something. It is the answer to the confusion in so many minds, it is the vision that many don’t quite see, it is the reason for exploration and the documentation of the explored. I am I completely different person now that I have integrated poetry into my life. It is almost as though I see beyond what is right there before me. I see the metaphor in the material; poetry added a dimension to my life, and that is how it can matter. Poetry paints pictures within the artist.

Spoken word poetry has always influenced me the most. I’ve never failed to feel the passion, beauty, and power within a voice when listening to spoken word.

Unionville, ON  Dina E Cox 

Of course poetry can, and does, matter. For me it was learned first in my mother’s arms, on her lap, and later, as I brought home newly discovered poems from school, in the surprise that she knew and could recite them. All the years of her life, poetry rolled easily off her tongue. Because of her, I hungered to delve more deeply into the spoken word, and eventually became a practitioner of the written. Why? Because it is there for me every day of my life in the words others have written down to express the depth of their emotions during difficult as well as during joyful times. It brings a kinship that keeps me, just, keeps me, and it also allows me to know Wordsworth’s “Thoughts that do often lie too deep for tears.” Even when we don’t (or won’t) recognize them ourselves, poetry reveals to us the truths of living, of our own lives. Who cannot be affected, even transfixed, often by one single line of poetry? I am thinking of P. K. Page’s line “In spring they wore themselves in a green embrace.” Poetry. Like the air we breathe and the water that sustains, for some of us at least, it is absolutely essential. Poetry matters.