Writing poetry is considered one of the most transformative and powerful arts, and it also occupies the central place in all cultures of the world. Throughout history, we come to know that poetry has the power to inspire or carry out change, transformation, healing, and enlightenment like no other art form can. In this regard, the question about what poetry can do to us and in our society or what function it fulfills may have found its answers.
On a personal level, poetry has a way to help us understand and appreciate the world around us. It reminds us of the beauty of nature as one of the most beautiful things we can observe and connect with. It allows us to better understand the functioning of ourselves. It allows us to express all our thoughts and emotions through the written word and share it with other people.
But despite of what we all know about poetry, it remains a distinct literary art form that is subject to different interpretations and meanings. However, there are few things in which we can all agree on the role of poetry in our society, and it is to influence, inspire, and engage readers. And like any other form of artistic creations, poetry has become one of the most important pillars of the humanities.
Poetry has become as relevant now as always. It even enters the minds of some famous world leaders whose opinion on the subject we can reflect deeply. And while it is debatable to say that poetry and politics have much more in common, we can never deny the fact that both are fueled by a sense of need, even to the point that something must be done without delay.
When John F. Kennedy, the 35th president of the United States of America, delivered his speech during the opening of Amherst College’s Robert Frost Library in 1963, he was able to not only give those who were in attendance at that time something to ponder about, but also a glimpse of his deeper insight, or perhaps his genuine, strong opinions about poetry. As to why he took time to include his take on poetry in the middle of his speech in that particular occasion may likely be just his way of returning the favor to Frost who accepted the president’s invitation to read a poem at his inauguration some two years prior. As a result of that invitation, when Frost finally stood before a large gathering of politicians, dignitaries, and some celebrities, at the United States Capitol, he became the first poet in history to read a poem in a presidential inauguration.
The iconic American president has revealed to us what poetry simply means to him and what it can do, as he spoke highly of the art’s wisdom as well as of its ability to restore a perspective distorted by power and politics. Kennedy was so convinced of the role that poetry can bring to the table, as he went on to say in one of his speeches:
When power leads man to arrogance, poetry reminds him of his limitations. When power narrows the areas of man’s concern, poetry reminds him of the richness and diversity of this existence. When power corrupts, poetry cleanses. For art establishes the basic human truth which must serve as the touchstone of our judgment.
In our modern world, where everyone seems to be so busy with anything and where a constant flow of information is readily available to us through the Internet, poetry may have somehow evolved into something much more useful. We now have poems in a form of videos or in digital formats from which we can share instantly anywhere in the world. This just proves that poetry is always there and it has become a very important part in our lives and in the society to which we belong.
A society cannot exist without poets. Every time we create something we can offer to share with others, we participate in this integral part of the humanities. Every time we look deeper into ourselves, at the touch of love, and do our part to spread our own light in the world, we become poets. We need more poets to serve as crucial voices for society’s hard truths, as well as to kindle a light in the hearts of all involved.
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