"For poetry makes nothing happen: it survives
In the valley of its own saying where executives
Would never want to tamper; it flows south
From ranches of isolation and the busy griefs,
Raw towns that we believe and die in; it survives,
A way of happening, a mouth"
A running joke amongst my friends, most of which are either working or doing a science major, is that I am 'unemployable and loving it'. I made that joke up, because sometimes the only way to stop people laughing at you is the laugh with them. I know they think I am a useless dreamer. Unemployable. So what? I love what I do and I am very, very good at what I do. How many people can genuinely say that? Not many that I know of.
The biggest accusation that is laid at my door is that my work doesn't do anything. It's pointless and useless and a waste of time. Reading literature and analysing film and writing poetry doesn't save lives or change the world.
This is, of course, a total lie. It's a lie because we live in a world where the cause and effect of robotic factory lines is our only measure of productivity - a means to an ends, something that creates something that can be measured numerically and has material value. We live in a world where we value people who make things happen that, in turn, makes more things happen. The act of creation is no longer something we are in awe of.
Poetry makes nothing happen. I cannot write you a poem and cure your disease or bring back the dead or send you to the moon or make you a millionaire. Maybe that's why my work is constantly discredited when compared to the work of doctors and scientists and businessmen. But my work is still important.
Poetry was a love that crept up on me - in my younger and more vulnerable days I read poetry in the same way I read Shakespeare; because it was highbrow and an annoyingly pretentious but alarmingly effective way of getting attention. But under the guidance of my dear teachers and the wisdom of summers withering in my pride I really began to appreciate poetry, what the poets were saying and what the words were singing and what each and every piece meant to me. My love of poetry is like my love of coffee - I kept at it for less than honourable reasons but now I am a connoisseur, a snob, if you will - but a devoted lover nonetheless.
Poetry is a way of happening; a mouth. It is a way of saying something that can't or shouldn't be said - a way for me to empower myself, to bring voice to times when I am reduced to tears or stammers or heartbreaking silence. It is a way of saying something bold in a way that is eloquent and daring but at the same time too broad to point fingers of blame at; it is a way of subverting generic discourse and being challenging and controversial. It is analysis and critique of the most potent kind; enough to see poets burned and persecuted, their names written with blood in the annals of history. Poetry makes nothing happen, but it is a way of making things happen; it is not a manual on how to save a life but it is a language to write everything and everyone. I started writing poetry because I had - and still have - a bad habit of extremely long and complicated sentences and very irrelevant and not very interesting digressions when I write prose. Poetry was my way of learning how to speak succinctly without losing my love of the abstract. Poetry survives and thrives in the idiosyncrasies and paradoxes of life that nothing else can ever think of decoding; it is the way in which we remember, record, bring meaning to the things we build, the fights we win and the people we love.