We All Need a Little Poetry in Our Lives

Poetry – the word brings to mind a multitude of emotions, from gratitude, wonder, suffering, remorse and grief to passion, love, delight, joy, and so on. Poetry is a very old form of human expression, a literary art celebrated by most cultures through eons of humanity, and continues to inspire and express today.

Poetry is many things at once. Most of us don’t think of it on a daily basis, but poetry has a place in our everyday lives. What makes poetry valuable are these varied purposes.

Poetry is therapy. It helps us sort out confusion. It helps chronicle special or scary times. The desire or the need to create poetry resonates through many human conditions. Emotions too dear or too harsh can be expressed within a poetical format. Difficult ideas, indifference and consequences of indifference, bursts of nameless emotions, and turbulent times all have been expressed in poetry.

Children especially respond to poetry. Nursery rhymes are saturated with playful words and verses that weave a literary spell to enchant, amuse, and teach. It is a superb way to master a language, articulate feelings, or help a child make sense of a conscious experience they may not understand yet.

Poetry is a tool. It lends a dignity to our human condition while helping us discover a way to relate or explain ourselves to others.

Poetry is satisfying. It puts into words the myriad emotions we humans find ourselves experiencing. When a poet crafts an exquisite turn of phrase, it can be inspiration, even an epiphany for others experiencing the same struggle.

Poetry is a touchstone to ideals we hold dear. A line of a favorite poem can put many things into perspective, trigger a feeling of hope or pride, represent a flawless conviction we strive for.

CCLD currently holds roughly 2300 works of poetry in its collections. And, you guessed it, is all-inclusive – from epics, such as Gilgamesh, historic events like the Holocaust, the classics we all know, to children’s favorites, the not-so-familiar and the yet-to-be-discovered.

Friends of the Library will be conducting a Poetry Festival – see our website for more details. In addition, February begins the Central Library’s 5-week Poetry workshop for children ages 7 and up. These are two great opportunities to express ourselves through poetry.

Call the Central Library at 733-9174 or 733-8604 for more information.

Caroline Poppendeck, Librarian
Head of Youth Services
CCLD, Central Library