THE BLOG
04/29/2014 09:06 am ET Updated Jun 29, 2014

Why Read Poetry?

Read poetry because of the times you have stopped to look at rain fall through the light of a street lamp and wished you knew the words that made it what it was. Read poetry because you are lonely and full of wild abandon. Read poetry so when you are no longer lonely and are wrapping your arms and legs around your beloved your beloved will tell you I have never known arms and legs to have such wild abandon. Read poetry so a part of you stays in what you see, so what you see stays with you. Read poetry because the world and our emotions and our ideas are always more complicated than we want them to be. Read poetry because the lady next to you in the cafe won't stop humming tunelessly to herself and you need to find a way to know her loneliness. Read poetry so you can hate National Poetry Month knowledgeably on social media. Read poetry so you can increase your chances of watching your favorite sport with Seth Landman and the ghost of Herman Melville. Read poetry because the night is long and people die and both of these truths are unfair and hurt us over and over without relenting. Read poetry because the unnamed heaviness in you is the weight of the ancient nameless dead longing to be remembered. Remember them. Read poetry because language is a virus from outer space that is ever evolving and every poem has the chance of living forever. Read poetry and get excited about formal constraints in poetry because, c'mon, who doesn't like to be tied down from time to time? Read poetry instead of looking at her profile picture so often that when you open the Facebook your browser opens her page automatically; read poetry so that every her in every poem becomes her. Read poetry because you know that waiting makes whatever you are waiting for even better when it comes. Read poetry because you are already wicked smart and poetry is the only thing that really stumps you, because when you see a manticore you trust your instinct and run like hell instead of asking if Mr. Manticore would like a bite of your tuna fish sandwich (show us them Mineola Prep track star legs). Read poetry because manticores are real, and so are all the gods, and gnomes, and so is faery, and so are all of your feelings. Read poetry because no one has ever loved or been hurt by love as much as you. Of course you feel this way, poetry understands. Read poetry because of the vestiges of a world you once knew often invade your day and the houses and avenues of the past are, alas, prisoners of the years. Read poetry so you can steal lines from Proust and this line from Barbara Guest: Poetry is the true fiction. Read poetry so you never have to talk about MEANING ever again because poetry is unparaphraseable, man. Read poetry because the political and environmental realities make you weep and poetry can help. Poetry can help. Read poetry because it offers no answers, no advice, no cures, just understanding and love and timing. Read poetry because the world is more than the facts of the world. Read poetry because you don't have enough mystery in your life and you want to become even more mysterious (re: attractive) than you are already are. Read poetry because you have poems in you that need to be written. Read poetry because birds, honeysuckle, lit windows, new shoes, walking outside, donuts, lipstick, fresh peaches, cocktails, kisses in the rain produce in you a feeling that you never want to lose, but you will, and the only thing you can do is pay better attention when the feeling comes again. And here it comes. And there it goes. Was it as rich as it could be? Life is so short, my friends. But poetry makes it last a bit longer. It does. It is true. Listen.