Over the last few years, and especially this year, there have been HUGE cuts to the arts in state and federal budgets, as this country tries to pay for two wars (even if they’ve been “scaled down”), and tax cuts for the wealthy. Since these cuts started, I haven’t come across a lot of articles that make a solid defense for the importance of the arts, especially for poetry. However, a friend posted on Google + yesterday an article published at the Huffington Post by poet/book reviewer Roger Housden, who makes the case for poetry. Read the article here. In the article, Housden points out that we may never be the same again after reading poetry, that poetry “calls to us” and can ignite a fire within us. I agree with this theory. When I had my first poetry workshops as an undergrad at West Chester University, I was never really the same again. I felt that fire he mentions in the article, and I started writing poetry, thinking about it, and organizing readings. I hope other students have this same opportunity and schools don’t do away with such classes because of budget retraints.
Poetry is also important, he writes, because it “uses the common currency of our daily speech. It uses words that are known to all of us, but in a sequence and order that surprises us out of our normal speech rhythms and linear thought processes.”
Above all, poetry nourishes the imagination through surprising language and imagery, a point made well in the William Carlos Williams poem “Of Asphodel, That Greeny Flower,” also quoted in the article.
It is difficult
To get the news from poems
Yet men die miserably every day
Of what is found there.