I stumbled upon a great find while wasting away time in a used bookstore recently.
America poet John Ciardi published a collection of essays on poetry back in 1989.
Finding this book coincided with a discussion I’ve been having with a colleague who has expressed a desire to better appreciate poetry. I had been coming up short with a simple and direct explanation for what I knew in my heart to be true.
This one passage was worth far more than the 4 bucks and change I spent on Ciardi’s book:
“Because it is an act of language, a good poem is deeply connected with everything are and do. For language is one of the most fundamental activities in which human beings engage. Take away language, and you take away most of our ability to think and to experience. Enrich language, and you cannot fail to enrich our experience. Whenever we have let great language into our heads, we have been richer for it.”
2 thoughts on “What good is poetry?”
It seems to me “wasting away time” in the same sentence with “bookstore” is a prime example of an oxymoron. And Ciardi is a great find.
I was shooting for irony, but I’ll settle for an oxymoron so absurd it stirred up the old English teacher in you.