“Poetry is finer and more philosophical than history; for poetry expresses the universal, and history only the particular." Aristotle
I return to this quote by Aristotle quite often when I am writing poetry. I believe it describes in very succinct detail exactly why poetry is so powerful. When you read someone's account of a situation, it relies heavily on facts and details. But, when you read a poem, the emotion comes through. For example, here is a poem written during the Holocaust.
July 10, 1944
Have you seen, in fields of snow, frozen Jews, row on row? Blue marble forms lying, not breathing, not dying.
Somewhere a flicker of a frozen soul - glint of fish in an icy swell. All brood. Speech and silence are one. Night snow encases the sun.
A smile glows immobile from a rose lip's chill. Baby and mother, side by side. Odd that her nipple's dried.
Fist, fixed in ice, of a naked old man: the power's undone in his hand. I've sampled death in all guises. Nothing surprises.
Yet a frost in July in this heat - a crazy assault in the street. I and blue carrion, face to face. Frozen Jews in a snowy space.
Marble shrouds my skin. Words ebb. Light grows thin. I'm frozen, I'm rooted in place like the naked old man enfeebled by ice.
When you read this poem, you are transported to that specific place and time. You can imagine the cold, the loneliness, the desperation felt by the Jews interned at these awful death houses. It touches you on a basic level of human emotion with its imagery. It is touching on everyone's basic humanity.
That is why I love poetry so much. I am able to express myself in ways that simple stories cannot do. I can use images and expressive language. I am hoping that there are many of you that feel the same way. Maybe you've been secretly writing poetry for yourself. I want to hear from all of you. I want to spread my love of poetry to the masses. I am so passionate about literature, poetry, and the English language. So, I am calling to all of you to join me in this adventure of mine.
I have been writing poetry since I can remember. I knew, in my heart, since I was a child that I was a writer. I tried to deny it, tried to go in other directions in college, but the draw was just too great. I needed to write. I needed to express myself and hope that others found something good in my writing as well. I am so honored to have been chosen as Hanover, Pennsylvania's fifth Poet Laureate. I am very excited to get out and about in the community and try to reach those old and young and inspire them to draw out their inner poet.
Please feel free to e-mail me any of your work at firstname.lastname@example.org. I would love to read it and critique it. I will be fair and honest, but never harsh. I look forward to hearing from you.