This essay is inspired by some of the recent comments in this post. And it made me think: why people really don’t like poetry? What is it that keeps them away from maybe not writing, but from reading some really exquisite pieces by poets from all around the world?
The usual answer is something like “Poetry is boring”, “I don’t understand it”, “It’s a waste of time”. So I wanted to explore this topic a bit further.
If we look more deeply around us, we can notice that people have very little time to appreciate art in general. This fast paced, consumer oriented society has trained us to want everything now and here. An instant satisfaction, an instant thrill, an instant experience: not allowing our biological system to perceive with all its senses; truly absorb our emotions and simply feel.
Life usually demands of us high level of practicality, logical and factual thinking in order for us to be functional and productive on a day to day basis. It’s very noticeable in how we are doing business and science. But where are the boundaries? Have we lost our human touch? In our lives when everything is so exact and explicit we have erased some of the basic human traits: ability to feel and empathize. We cannot treat our most intimate relationships, families and ourselves like we are on a business meeting and signing a business contract.
And there is this soft spot where poetry likes to ‘poke’ you. It demands something different from you. It demands your whole being to respond: if you try logically to analyze a poem, it will take you nowhere; if you search for shortcuts, you will be lost; if you need answers, probably you will be disappointed.
A poem is a journey that allows you to escape from typical factual thinking and forces you to question everything: instead of searching for answers on the outside, you need to look deep inside of you.
There lies the true value of poetry – especially for business leaders, as it can be seen as an antidote to typical business interpretations:
- poem is associative rather than factual thinking;
- poem enforces abstract thinking in comparison to deductive thinking.
Like Clare Morgan implies in “What poetry brings to business”:
reading poetry generates conceptual spaces that maybe different from the spaces usually approached in business and life in general.
As poetry is letting yourself to get familiar with the unknown – it shouldn’t instill fear of ambiguity and uncertainty, but rather to be seen as a vehicle, attractive mystical longing that can transcend us across those conceptual spaces and offer different modes of interpretation: a sure way to enrich our creativity in all aspects of our lives.
I ask them to take a poem
and hold it up to the light
like a color slide
or press an ear against its hive.
I say drop a mouse into a poem
and watch him probe his way out,
or walk inside the poem’s room
and feel the walls for a light switch.
I want them to waterski
across the surface of a poem
waving at the author’s name on the shore.
But all they want to do
is tie the poem to a chair with rope
and torture a confession out of it.
They begin beating it with a hose
to find out what it really means.
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