Is Poetry Necessary?
As a poet, I recognize poetry’s tremendous importance to a society. Still, I can get caught up in the complexities of modern life: I have classes to teach, papers to read and grade, writing projects demanding equal attention, a family to care for. Therefore, it’s easy to forget that poetry is as necessary to our well being as food, though when I say this to my students, they look at me skeptically.
Many have trouble with poetry, and I discuss this difficulty with them. “Why,” I ask, “in a class of twenty literate, intelligent young men and women do only two or three read or write poetry—even occasionally?”
They think about the question, and then a few raise their hands tentatively; they try to articulate why poetry is hard for them: “It doesn’t have anything to do with my life,” says a female business major from Hong Kong.