By David Nilsen
A couple weeks ago, the regular attendees of PoetryMatters gathered for our final meeting together at Greenville Public Library. I started this program a year ago because I believe poetry has power, and that reading it aloud keeps it alive, and can lend a bit of life as well to those doing the reading and the listening. In the past year we’ve read countless poems together, from classics that still speak to us through they were penned in previous centuries to poems first published on the internet and that address hurts unique to the world we now live in. Our discussions of these poems have often been enlightening and have sometimes been frustrating, but have always been rewarding.
In our final meeting we read poems by Mona Van Duyn (“Late Loving”), Paul Laurence Dunbar (“For the Man Who Fails”), Enakshi Ganguly (“Untitled,” “Boys Will Be Boys”), Joseph Brodsky (“Love Song,” “Bosnian Tune”), Nikki Giovanni (“Allowables”), Carl Sandburg (“One Parting”), Williams Wadsworth Longfellow (“The Day Is Done”), and Rainer Maria Rilke (several selections from the Duino Elegies and Sonnets to Orpheus). As usual, there was a good deal of laughter, and a few tears.
Poetry still matters. I believe that. As editor of this journal, I will make sure we continue to defend and promote poetry in this space by publishing original poetry and poetry reviews. Even though PoetryMatters is no longer meeting, we proved within our small circle what poetry can do.
Read poetry. Please. Read it, and share it with others. Pass along your favorite poems and poets to your friends. Check out poetry books from your library. Buy poetry books if and when you are able. Attend poetry readings. Stage a poetry reading at a local bar or coffeeshop. Host a reading in your home. Write poetry and, if you want to, send it out to see if it can be published. Share a poem on social media. Read some more poetry.
Poetry still matters. Do you believe that?