The Rising Need for Poetry

As a poet I cannot go gently, I must write.  We are living in a new literary era which I feel is now the poetry of social connections. There has always been a long tradition of political activism in poetry. But with the internet, it has become the new Avante Garde.

“I see protest poetry as a genuine means of encouraging someone to feel the inconsistencies, the horror of the lives we are living. Social protest is saying that we do not have to live this way. If we feel deeply, and we encourage ourselves and others to feel deeply, we will find the germ of our answers to bring about change. Because once we recognize what it is, we are feeling, once we recognize we can feel deeply, love deeply, can feel joy, then we will demand that all parts of our lives produce that kind of joy. And when they do not, we will ask, ‘Why don’t they?’ And it is the asking that will lead us inevitably toward change.” —Audre Lorde

Shelley, Longfellow, Whitman, Eliot,  Plath, Sexton, Lennon, Thomas, Angelou, Nelson, Davis, Lorde, just to name a few poets who chose poetry as a means to give social injustices a voice. Much of what these writers vocalized in their poems gave a voice to people of similar experiences. However, their words are also a charge to me, to us all…. to not continue feeling comfortable with the privileges enjoyed because they often came at a cost to others.

Jane Hirshfield said in a recent NY Times article that poems are more visible right now because of the difficult times we are facing. It is ironic for a poet because when there is not abundant poetry it means times are okay, and their craft is overlooked. When times are dire poetry becomes prominent because it provides comfort in difficult times to the masses. As poets, we must learn to ride the waves.

The recent resurgence of protest poems reflect the strains of our communities and our very existence. The New York Times says the flood of protest poems recently stands apart from earlier eras in both quantity and intensity. I wonder if it is because the poems that appear today in social media speak with urgency and social responsibility in a time that it is so desperately needed.

History has shown people turn to poetry in times of crisis, and unfortunately, we are definitely facing dark times on this planet we all call home. Every day, around the world change, is happening and those changes are not promising.

Imperfectly Perfect By Lyn Crain
People Saw It at The Time 
Mismatched Yet Perfectly Paired
Idealism 
And
Horrific Brutality 
Up-close and Unsettled 
Inspired by What Lies Beneath 
Purposely 
Seduced and Betrayed 
We See
Belief is Potent
Every Angle
Mismatched Yet Perfectly Paired
We Understand 
The World
Doesn’t 
Change 
For Better 
Or Worse 

Live

********************************************

 

Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night~ Dylan Thomas

Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Though wise men at their end know dark is right,
Because their words had forked no lightning they
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright
Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,
And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way,
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight
Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

************************************************************

 

American Dream by Lyn Crain

To understand
The world
Fight For
Injustice…

Fight
Old Boy Mentality
And
Small Talk

See it from
Every angle
Where
Rage
Intersects
Our own
Chaos and Bliss…

 

2 thoughts on “The Rising Need for Poetry

  1. This is a wonderfully powerful statement about the role of poetry in highlighting social issues, and also of poetry to transform. I’ve noticed recently that a fair number of my flash fiction or short-shorts have a social justice aspect to them, not something I did intentionally, but it was something I felt needed to be said. Thanks, Lyn!

    Like

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