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Why poetry?

December 9th, 2003 · No Comments

Yesterday I got a catalog in the mail. I’ve only ordered from this place once or twice; they (Shepherd Press) publish one of my favorite family/child-rearing books. But I don’t think I’ve ever read the catalog, probably just tossed it out in the trash with the other unwanted mail. In addition to the books for sale, though, I discovered in this issue a few other interesting essays. I liked this one, entitled, Why we sell poetry Here’s some excerpts:

You may think our choice to carry books of poetry and a book about poetry to be strange. Where do these books fit with the rest of the books we sell? …

First, poetry forces us to look closely at ordinary things, and to see, in them, the extraordinary creation God has made. We are surrounded by ordinary things. The majority of our lives are what we would call common-place. We see people we have seen before, the scenery around us is the same from day to day. We rarely experience anything really out of the ordinary. Our culture today thrives on change, on constant thrills. Our culture teaches us to yearn for continual novelty, to be dissatisfied with the same old things. Rarely do we look closely and carefully enough at the stuff of our ordinary lives to see the beauty and delight of the world God has made. Poetry teaches us to celebrate the everyday things of life.

Second, poetry forces us to see in ordinary things extraordinary truths. We see images of Christ, for instance, in ordinary things like husbands, vines, and flowers. Poetry teaches us to make surprising, delightful, and meaningful connections between the ordinary things of life and the extraordinary truths to which we anchor our souls….

Tags: poetry