April is National Poetry Month and we’re celebrating with reviews of recent poetry books and above all, a focus on local poets—our own truth tellers of the word in the next two issues.
When I think of what poetry means and what poetry can do in our day to day ordinary lives, I think of what one of greatest American writers, James Baldwin, had to say about one of America’s greatest poets, Emily Dickinson, in an interview in the Paris Review and why he liked her work. “Her use of language. Her solitude, as well, and the style of that solitude. There is something very moving and in the best sense funny.”
And here’s what local Seattle poet and law student Troy Osaki had to say about poetry in a recent profile in The Stranger. “I focus on race and social justice in my writing because I believe poetry has the ability to shift dominant culture and to change people’s hearts and minds. I think this is important because I believe legal solutions (laws and policies) are limited and can’t transform our brutal system alone. However, poetry can help build community power—and I believe community power is what it will take to achieve social change.”
I’m sure we all have our own reasons for embracing poetry in our lives. Find your own and celebrate.
“I celebrate myself, and sing myself,
And what I assume you shall assume,
For every atom belonging to me as good belongs to you”
(From Walt Whitman’s ‘I Celebrate Myself’)