Poetry speaks of things that are true, with words that are beautiful.
~ Dante Alighieri
Where does poetry come from? And how exactly does one become a poet? It often begins at our mother’s knee. Dana Gioa’s mother recited Poe’s “Annabelle Lee” to him; mine read me Clyde Robert Bulla’s “The Moon Singer.” Gioia mentioned that his mother came from a dirt poor background; the poetry she was taught to memorize in school was as he put it, a way for her to “access beauty.” For my own mother, reading was a magical wardrobe into a Narnia of learning and better opportunities.
Teach a child to read and you open up vast new worlds to him; breathing on the creative spark already burning within his tiny breast and setting his imagination ablaze. Teach a child poetry and you open up, not just a new world, but “a different way of speaking and writing.” That was Dana Gioia’s response when asked for the definition of poetry. And a child who is introduced to poetry from a young age will remember and cherish those childhood poems well into adulthood. I can still recite, with only some faltering, “If”, “In Flanders Fields,” as well as the iconic “Trees.”
In Gioia’s case, his mother’s love of poetry races like quicksilver in his blood and has created a great American poet. What is your love and what, or rather who, will it create? Now is the time to fashion the next generation of poets and writers. What steps will you take to incorporate poetry into your life and the lives of your children?
Oremus pro invicem,