Why is poetry important?
It’s important because it can be a gateway to other things, so be mindful! It can open one up to empathy, to understanding, to learning how language works for both English and nonEnglish speaking people. It teaches punctuation, calls on intuition: to feel where a line ends or does not end or how to extend a metaphor or recognize a brilliant simile. I think most importantly it teaches us to live in the uncomfortable space of that poem, of whatever that poem means to us because in it we have something to reach for, to grow from. The discomfort of figuring that out is fearful but we must fight for it. Poetry is the only medium we have that doesn’t ask for a happy ending, doesn’t require closure and we can let things stand as they are. Our culture likes to pretend closure is possible, even necessary, and that’s a myth based on fear. Poetry’s importance is primal.