How can poetry change lives
How poems can change the world
May I ask you how do you like the poem "Antidote"? Did you read it out loud If not, may I ask you to do just that now?
And? Did it affect you differently now?
What is it that particularly affects you Does it even speak to you? Shattered, happy or does it inspire you? Not at all? Then we don't have a problem yet! But we should ask ourselves the question: What if Donald Trump were just given the right “antidote”?
We already have the poetry within us
In our digitized world, big buzzwords also take up a lot of space. Topics such as light-heartedness, search for meaning, community, nature and trivialities often take a back seat when it comes to world problems. Our experience teaches us adjustment and flexibility in everyday life and work alike. An oxymoron. Childlike thought patterns, which at that time could still be used quite naively, exist as memories, such as imagination or free play without rules, but we have learned that there are “more important things” and that the older you get, more and more are more than "prohibited".
The space for the unthought-of, the unheard-of, which grows out of boredom and could be implemented in poetry, music and art, for example, is hidden somewhere in the depths next to our inner child and plays hide and seek. Where did they go, the carefree days of our childhood? The time of counting verses, rhymes and lullabies? Time to revive it, don't you think so?
The magic of poetry
We're on literary power here and luckily I don't have to tell you about the real book. Trude can do that much better anyway. 🙂
You have probably already become more than aware in one and the other article how reading can enrich your life. Not only every book, every word picture, has what it takes to change something in you: every sentence, every word. And yes, every letter too!
Which brings us to poetry right now. A letter that can breathe a whole new meaning into a single word is a force that should not be underestimated that emanates from lyrical fragments. “I am in the forest” can quickly become a “I am soon”. You read it above, and a changed sound becomes a whole new meaning. By the way: there will soon be a geographical landscape in East Central Germany!
A poem can make anything its subject. With William Carlos Williams, for example, a stone fruit was the recurring lyrical leitmotif. Hans Magnus Enzensberger has translated the countless tree poems. Why in the world should you write countless poems about plums? Find out!
Poems can: Shaking up. Giving old thoughts a new track. Sensitively contain what is too heavy. Blow up what is holding you prisoner. Poetry as resistance! As the voice of a minority. Poems stand for what longer texts take on. They get to the point, choose words wisely, sometimes make fun of and stamp in what is nowhere written down.
Be the change yourself!
When a poem speaks to you, “speaks itself to you,” it's an intimate feeling, isn't it? Pictorial images build up in your mind's eye, you can literally grasp the liveliness that has been generated. Words are filled with life because you use your imagination.
It's a wow experience! Perhaps now you also feel the desire to read another poem or to write one yourself or to communicate yourself in a different way. You may also like to paint a picture. Call your mother. Join a demo. Eat a plum.
Maybe you want to compose a song now because the poem inspired you to do exactly that. That in turn could serve as a gift for a family celebration - and whoosh - it would suddenly have what it takes to touch others too. The poem. You see, you can trigger a chain reaction if you just give away something of your feelings, the feeling that has obviously enabled you to take a step, to motivate you to do a (miss) action that also touches your environment and takes you further .
"I don't like poems"
You are not one with the poem up there? That's perfectly fine! Not everything touches us, affects us, enables us to do more courageous deeds, speak louder words, take more crazy daring or more self-worthy thoughts. Not every text, every photograph, every painting, every piece of music, every act of a book is immediately apparent.
Some things take time, variation, foresight, maybe listening, reading, seeing, feeling several times.
You're probably more comfortable with Anglo-American poetry. It is much closer to everyday life than many of the “tendentially cerebral” “constructed” German poetry, which is often perceived as rigid, as Martina Weber points out. The world is full of poems, you have to discover what suits you. Do you remember the scavenger hunts we went on as kids?
Finding poems that suit us and that we can read, love and live is a bit like going on a treasure hunt, because we will always find something that can and will stay with us. Finding access to poetry means meeting your inner child again. The “right” poem is a discovery that is always worth looking for. Or do you generally rule out music just because you don't like a song?
Where do you find your poem?
If you feel like writing poetry yourself, check out @Phoebe_nowisthetime on Instagram. Under #PhoebesLyrikbox, she puts new lyrical writing tasks every Sunday that you can take on. In the meantime, a community has grown out of it, which devotes itself week after week to Limmericks, Tankas, Concrete Poetry, but also thematic tasks such as “Resistance in Poetry” in fixed but also free, experimental texts.
I am aware that a lyrical reading discovery that hits the conscious mind like a bomb and turns a whole life upside down from now on is a rare wish. Change is always a process. But what remains: we have to (want to) read poems over and over again! I am very sure that there is this one poem waiting that could change you and your own little world. And with it maybe at some point the bigger picture. It would definitely be desirable. What if we didn't even consider needing poetry in our lives instead of just killing it?
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