Coda Q: What do you need poetry for?
Short Answer: Writing poetry is a way to process. The constraints are tools and frames for seeing in manageable size bits.
Long Answer: With poetry as folk medicine it can try to treat many things. A need to connect, to speak up and out, to educate, to frustrate, to calm, to make beauty, to break beauty, to narrate differently, to sort out ideas, to make a thing, to make fame or immortality. (Though, I’ve never believed in the last 2.)
If delivered well, and the right randomness to the right moment, it may make a pattern discernible somewhere else or to someone else. It’s a way to publicly speak and build a like-minded community. It provides closure and control to state something which gives permission to let go. A book as a casket for thought and all that. Or poem as a urn.
But what do I need of it? Maybe nothing? “Necessity is an individual sport” said Matt Wiele. But an individual is in constant change. What do I need now?
And is poetry the best route or the practiced route? Real solutions can be self-talk, frank dialogue, direct action, following one line of thought deep and long, medicine, to retrain thinking to not gaslight oneself in solitude, to learn physical skills, exercise, listening instead of speaking, confronting issues within and without. Poetry can be like slacktivsm. Or a start, rather than an end. A way to question, not with answers in hand, or to question to question, but to get somewhere.