It’s great to get a poem or story published. It’s about income and getting read and for some it’s validation as well. These are all important (even vital), but I was reminded recently that our poetry and other writing is about so much more.

In the introduction to the March issue of The BeZine, themed Science in Culture, Politics and ReligionContributing Editor Michael Dickel wrote:

American-Israeli Poet, Michael Dickel

“The title of David Cooper’s book on Kabbalah invites us to re-think the Creator as Creating: God is a Verb. While I don’t want to equate science to God in a religious sense, I want to borrow this re-conception. Science is creative, creating, if you will, knowledge of the world. Science is a verb.”

 

Jamie Dedes

A friend of mine came to visit and glowed when she told me she’d read Michael’s introduction. God is a Verb and Science is a verb popped out at her. Something she’d been struggling with suddenly fell into place. Other company arrived and I wasn’t able to get further explanation. I’m pleased but not surprise with her reaction to Michael’s piece. It demonstrates the power of words to bring joy, clarification and healing.

My own recent experience: a few people commenting or emailing me saying my post here – not with a bang but a whimper – helped release needed tears.

On another occasion in woman in Scotland wrote to say she’d read my poem – Wabi Sabi – to her wabi sabi group.  They found it inspiring. Wow! While I do need my payments, it’s this sort of thing – this human connection – that is satisfying right down to the marrow of my bones.

Poetry is also important as an entry point into sacred space for both artist and audience.  This is motivation for everyone to practice their art, whether professionally or as amateur, which is not a pejorative. I’m sure many of you – if not all of you – know what I mean.  There’s a shift that happens. Sometimes it feels more like channeling than writing. The experience is illuminating, healing and peaceful. An unexpected insight often arrives just when you need it.

Our job as poets and writers goes even further: we bear witness, we give voice to the voiceless, and we observe and commemorate.

English Poet Myra Schneider at her 80th Birthday celebration and the launch of her 12th collection

Myra Schneider said in an interview HERE, that “I believe the role of the poet is to reflect on human experience and the world we live in and to articulate it for oneself and others. Many people who suffer a loss or go through a trauma feel a need for poetry to give voice to their grief and to support them through a difficult time. When an atrocity is committed poems are a potent way of expressing shock and anger, also of bearing witness. I think that the poet can write forcefully, using a different approach from a journalist, about subjects such as climate change, violence, abuse and mental illness and that this is meaningful to others. I very much believe too that poetry is a way of celebrating life. I think it deserves a central place in our world.”

So, as we celebrate poetry this month, be sure to give yourself time to read and write … for the sake of your spirit and for the rest of us too.

Please join us at The BeZine on April 15th for our special interNational poetry issue. Michael Dickel is the lead editor.

© Each of the personal photographs belongs to the poet pictured, all rights reserved.

– Jamie Dedes (The Poet by Day)

5 thoughts on “FOR POETRY MONTH: Meaning and Pleasure … featuring Michael Dickel and Myra Schneider

  1. This is a great post. While Im working hard sending in poetry and stories to publications, I still try to remember the ever elusive beauty of making art. If it’t not emotional, if it’s not our very essence, then it’s not any good in my opinion.

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  2. Writing for the ‘Zine and Beguine is one of the things — being married to Diane and a GORGEOUS Japanese Buddhist in-law family in Hawaii is another — that staves off the “noonday demon” of clinical depression for me. It is, quite literally, one of the things that keeps me alive.

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  3. When I was in college, I took metric tons of poetry classes. (My “official” majors were math, physics, and philosophy, but I loved lit in general and poetry in particular.) But, except for Milton when doing my PhD, all the poetry classes I took were SURVEY classes, e.g., survey of romanticism, survey of French symbolism, etc., never a single class on a single poet. Ever a class on just T. S. Eliot. Never a class on just Wallace Stevens. Never a class on just Mallarme. That had to wait til post-college, even post-PhD. Good in some ways. In others, not so much. Thanks for listening … again.

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  4. C. S. Lewis once said “We read to know we’re not alone”. I think we write — anyway, some of us write — for the same reason. I’m always surprised, though by now I probably shouldn’t be, by people who think poetry, art, philosophy, etc. — in general, the humanities — are jejune, useless, and irrelevant because they make no “progress”. (I’m thinking now of, e.g., Neil DeGrasse Tyson, who is otherwise one of my heroes.) I’ve known people who talked that way … until they or one of their kids, e.g., was diagnosed with, say, stage-4 pancreatic cancer or ended up with traumatic brain injury … or watched their first child being born. Such folks have a way of becoming precipitately born-again poets and philosophers, i.e., practitioners of at least one of those ostensibly outdated and sterile disciplines previously viewed with such disdain. Nietzsche defined philosophy as “a voluntary living amid ice and heights”. Some of us live there all the time. Others visit briefly when compelled to do so. But everyone does at least the latter occasionally. The depths of life will not be denied.

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    1. Oh, I agree with all this, James. Sometimes people do discover poetry in manner like others discover god. Thanks for taking the time to read and comment, James. You and your writing are valued and your contribution to our joint efforts is important to all of us. Warmly, Jamie

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