Why We Need Poetry

…this is an official thank-you to my friends and those I will never meet, who are poets.

It is difficult
to get the news from poems
yet men die miserably every day
for lack
of what is found there.

– From Asphodel, that Greeny Flower by William Carlos Williams

This quote came from an invitation to subscribe to a poetry magazine. Guess I’m on the right list; it helps me to nurture the image I have of myself as a deep, thoughtful, avant-garde sort of person. And I really do like good poetry.

Poetry seems to me to be even less practical than most other fine arts. If you’re a painter, you can at least do portraits for rich people or, worst case, make a living as a corporate graphic designer while you wait for the world to appreciate your real passion. Dancers can get reality tv shows or teach little girls at the rec center. We filmmakers can hope to work on commercial projects that at least have a semblance of creativity – or else infomercials if we’re desperate – while our indie art film dukes it out for audiences at film festivals in mid-America.

Poets? I guess they have the greeting card industry.

So this is an official thank-you to my friends and those I will never meet, who are poets. I’m trying to teach my kids to love poetry, even if they can’t make a living at it.