Thanks to the internet and social media, a poet’s ability to reach her/his audience has grown beyond anybody’s expectation and so has the relevancy of poetry.
While searching for videos and articles about poetry, I found sites urging me to realize the words I had yet to discover in myself, asking me: “What do you need to say?” This made me wonder what a poet like Robert Frost, considered by many the closest the United States has come to a national poet, would say about reaching an international audience.
In his well-known poem, “The Road Not Taken,” Frost writes:
I shall be telling this with a sign, somewhere ages and ages hence, two roads diverged in a wood, and I…I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference.”
Ironic, isn’t it?
In the twenty-first century, Frost’s implied message of individuality is on the road traveled by millions via the internet, allowing him a chance, more than ever before, to make all the difference.
Many people say poetry is our natural language, and we lose the ability to speak it and write it as we age. Maybe that’s true for some, but for countless others, myself included, poetry lives in us through our daily interactions and all of our life experiences. We carry it with us, safely tucked away, until the time is right for us to let it burst open and spill out for unknown eyes to see and unknown hearts to feel. For us, poetry makes the sky a brighter reflection of you and the grass a more brilliant vision of me.
To quote Stanley Kunitz:
A poem is a sum of triumphs over unpredictable resistances.
When it comes to resistances, poetry is at the top of the list for many people, but it shouldn’t be. When it comes to poetry, there is something for everyone.
Poetry is our sixth sense translated into words meant for a universal audience. Poetry admires language, and it’s the pathway we can use to share that admiration. Poetry calls to every part of us. It urges us to open ourselves up to the things we may not understand, but we feel connected to emotionally.
Poetry retains its relevancy. Take “Stop all Clocks,” written by W. H. Auden. This poem describes the painful loss of a love. The author’s sorrow is dramatically felt in these lines:
He was my North, my South, my East and West, my working week and my Sunday rest, my noon, my midnight, my talk, my song; I thought that love would last forever. I was wrong.
Another timeless, relevant poem is one by Naomi Nye called Famous. This poem opens our eyes to the extraordinary significance for what is ordinary:
I want to be famous in a way a pulley is famous, or a buttonhole, not because it did anything spectacular, but because it never forgot what it could do.
This quote from T. S. Eliot says it all:
Genuine poetry can communicate before it is understood.
Poetry is a beautiful road to travel, and it is an opportunity to realize and express what you truly need to say. So say what you need to say! You never know, ages and ages hence, people may still be talking about it.
April is National Poetry Month. Celebrate!
Do you write poetry?
Share with me in comments.
Read my poetry HERE.