This was a topic that was discussed earlier this week in the debating society that I'm in and although everyone was fairly respectful and open to new ideas, it was pretty conspicuous that I was the only person in the room who was even a regular reader/writer of poetry, not to mention possessing a real passion for it. I know I'm biased, but that was a revelation which was pretty shocking to me: as someone who is surrounded by such a copious amount of fellow writers and wordsmiths, it seems insane to think that there are an increasing amount of people in the world who fail to see the relevance of such an art in today's society. Now first, let me reassure you - I am certainly not here to try and convert anybody into a lover of poetry. You are free to appreciate or disregard it to whatever extent you wish and I have no desire to force anything upon anybody. My aim of this post is nothing more than to simply share my reasons as to why poetry has such a special place in my life to whoever is listening and willing to learn.
Poetry is an art which lacks definition
The entire essence of poetry is freedom; there are no rules. So many people swallow the commonly accepted misconception, perpetuated by our education system, that a poem has to be littered with literary techniques such as rhyme, meter, alliteration etc in order to be valid and it really couldn't be further from the truth. Poetry has developed so much over time that it's become impossible to capture what a 'poem' really is. Whether it's ten pages or six words long, rhymed or blank verse, you could even argue that a poem doesn't require actual words found in the dictionary. Poetry is an echo, asking a shadow to dance; our entire existence in this physical form is poetry in motion.
Poetry is more than just a form of communication
"Poetry is obsolete", one student says. 'There are much more objective forms of conveying information." While this may be true, it is a statement that widely undermines the purpose of poetry and the reason so many people value it. Poetry is more than a form of communication, it's a means of expression and I refuse to believe that humans are little more than machinery with no need to create. No matter what anybody tells you, words and ideas CAN change the world. If you've ever seen 'Dead Poets Society', you'll know what I'm talking about when I say, "We don't read and write poetry because it's cute. We read and write poetry because we are members of the human race. And the human race is filled with passion. Medicine, law, business, engineering: these are noble pursuits and necessary to sustain life. But poetry, beauty, romance, love -- these are what we stay alive for."
Poetry is expanding in multiple ways
Long are the times where poetry was limited to the written word. One of my favourite forms of poetry is spoken word, which essentially brings a poem to life and turns it into a piece of performance art. While poetry slams are hugely popular in the USA, they're scarce here in the UK and I'm desperately waiting for the day that platform grows. I have absolute faith in the fact that there is a big enough market for it, if only people just opened their eyes.
Words are timeless
Shakespeare's sonnets, Bukowski's free verse and Rossetti's dramatic monologues are just as much relevant to my life as the poem I read yesterday by an aspiring writer on Tumblr. While language changes and slang develops, the emotions conveyed in every poem are eternal. The intensity of emotion displayed in classic poets are as real as that in today's modern society. Poetry is the point in which those two spheres meet in the middle. A bridging of the seemingly vast gap between two separate worlds. The planting of a seed which will grow into a tree that will live far longer than we will ever witness during our transient experience on this earth.
What are your thoughts on the importance of poetry in the modern world?