|n|otabilia 0560 ⁂ Jay Parini…why #poetry matters

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…adieu National Poetry Month until next year. Intermittent #poetrybombing ongoing…

For most of us, there is only the unattended Moment,
the moment in and out of time,
The distraction fit, lost in a shaft of sunlight,
The wild thyme unseen, or the winter lightning
Or the waterfall, or music heard so deeply
That it is not heard at all, but you are the music
While the music lasts.

[T.S. Eliot]

Poetry matters because it provides this music, which at its best is heard so deeply that it approximates silence. Poetry matters because it serves up the substance of our lives, and becomes more than a mere articulation of experience—although that articulation alone is part of its usefulness. Its adequacy to experience, in fact, is profound and lasting in the many different ways I have suggested in this book. Mainly, it allows us to see ourselves freshly and keenly. It makes the invisible world visible. It transforms our politics by enhancing our ability to make comparisons and draw distinctions. It reanimates nature for us, connecting spirit and matter. It draws us more deeply into conversation with the traditions that we feed off, modify, and extend. In the end, it brings us closer to God, however we define that term. It provides, in some cases, a reason for life itself. “How gladly with proper words the soldier dies,” writes Stevens, “If he must, or lives on the bread of faithful speech.”

—Jay Parini
—found in Why Poetry Matters (2008)


That’s it for Poetry Month! I hope you’ve enjoyed the selections this year and that you enjoy and share poetry all year.

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