What is poetry? Perhaps it is more interesting to understand why we care to know.
What is poetry?
To give a definition of poetry is very complex, because to define things is to confine them to a dimension of rationality. And poetry eschews this imprisonment and reaches out to the most mysterious dimensions of humanity. Every historical epoch has tried to understand what poets were doing, but if they succeeded, it is not because of rationality, but because of the ability to listen to the words of poets, who questioned the words themselves and stretched out a hand that leads directly into the heart of mystery.
Then perhaps more than defining poetry with rational categories, it is interesting to try to understand why every historical era and civilization has been interested in poetry and why we still wonder what poetry is today.
Why do we care about poetry?
Why do we care about poetry? Poetry interests us essentially because it saves us in a free and very effective way. It saves us from ourselves, from the illusion of owning the world and also from the illusion of existing. Poetry is the teacher who explains to us that we are part of a complex cosmos without which we would not exist — a picture is also its frame — it is not for nothing that all the great poets have dealt with what we call “nature.” Poetry uses words to give voice to the soul, that deepest part of us that lies silent while everything else speaks. Poetry is the voice of silence. Poetry is that which simply confronts us with truth. And it builds bridges between us and others, between here and elsewhere, between reality and mystery.
The world can do without many things, but it can never do without poetry.