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Essay: National Poetry Month
Poetry Is Alive!
By Melanie Bikowski
National Poetry Month crept up on us. The rhythmic howl of Alan Ginsburg is whispering to you from the bookshelves or your teacher’s syllabus. The flowers in Frost and Keats metaphors are sprouting to the call. The days are becoming longer & coffee shops around the world will be filling up with spoken word artists fedoras, statement hairstyles, and handmade wool scarves. The crowds will be eating up the words of Maya Angelou and the internet will be blown up with small Instagram shots of haikus from typewriter poets like Tyler Knott.
Last year, yet another article came out in the Washington Post about Poetry going extinct, government data shows.
The article tried to answer the question “does anyone read poetry anymore?” According to the numbers, reading poetry has been severely declining. The article says that in the last decade even the search for Poetry has been in a severe decline. But, when have we ever trusted the government?
Over the years, I have found that information is the enemy of art. “A poet dedicates herself or himself to a universe of feeling not facts, to the pursuit of beauty not information. Whether the poets write well or not, they define themselves as the seekers of the sensuous and emotional. Technology is metal, art is flesh. Technology is black and white, art is the palette of Matisse. Technology is speed. Art lingers, art is indolent, art takes naps.” Says Donald Hall in the article, “Poetry Crowd.”
Statistics aren’t even black and white. Just because Google says that poetry hasn’t been being searched for, maybe it’s because Poetry is easier to find. Maybe the statistics left out the numbers of places that poetry has been hiding. With Social Media on the rise, people can post their poems on status updates, art pages, Instagram, and blogs. A friend of mine from college, Tom Leveille, has over 50,000 followers on their twitter account, Avxlanche, where they tweet one line of their poems every day. It’s like the people that say that the museums are out of date because there is so much better art on the internet. Everyone is thinking and not feeling. Everyone is looking at a piece of art and asking “What does that symbolize?”
Poetry has always been at the forefront of social change. From poems like the Odyssey to social examinations of LA in Charles Bukowski’s anthologies. Foundations like Split this Rock are on the rise in Washington DC. Poets are setting up tours around the country where they stand on stage speaking their words to crowds of people who love poetry. The attendants have only been growing for these events is what the numbers say. The crowds want to hear poetry. They want to sit in the hardback chairs of the auditoriums and grunt at every agreeable metaphor, social stanza, and personal empowerment left on their hearts from the poet’s presentation.
Poetry is Alive, I say. Maybe the poetry that Keats wrote is dead, but like a phoenix rising from the ashes, Poetry is just getting started. It’s reborn, evolving, and growing to represent the present social structure of our generation. For me, a poet, myself, I write and read poetry in hopes of establishing a spark between human connection and those empathetic feelings we have inside. But I am a words woman. I incorporate poetry into every aspect of my life. I text instead of call, I scratch out words underneath my paintings before I strike the canvas with color. I feel. I feel for you, you, and you and when I read articles about how poetry is dead, I laugh and I just leave these journalists with this:
If we don’t need poetry anymore,
Maybe we don’t need mouths.
Replace the Mouth with the smart phone.
Text instead of call.
Message instead of smile.
Keep every emotion
A Yellow Circle Visual.
A frequently used
Sparkle Pink Heart
That could mean
I relate or I love you
so much that I want to
rip off the lifeproof protection
and feel your cold, hard pressed, apples
be replaced with your flesh next to my flesh.
#Real #Essay #NationakPoetryMonth #PoetryPower
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