February 08, 2014
The other day I was having lunch with some colleagues who I usually see infrequently, and I was asked what Challenge I had undertaken last year, and this year. Apparently for this particular person the fact that a couple of years ago I had shared one of my challenges with her, had stood out in her mind. I have had a photo a day challenge; Eat less, move more challenge, the 10,000 step a day challenge, the Every Friday is Poetry day (last year) and finally this year, Every 17th of the month is Haiku Day. Perhaps this challenge stuff is a little unusual. I guess it's not really usual for people to take photos of their food?
I got to explaining to my colleague why poetry? I explained that I had always loved poetry at school and later at college. I loved reading it, analysing it, and talking about what it could mean. I loved hearing the words. There is nothing accidental about the choice of word, line or syllable in poems. I think that reading and thinking about poetry engages all parts of the brain that help with analyzing, that help with the creative and that help with our thought processes. I believe that poetry is important in helping us exercise that muscle, the brain.
I still have quite a few of my old poetry books from school and college. Some books have mysteriously vanished in the move (probably I gave them away.) I have scribbled in places all over certain poems (in pencil of course.) And now so many decades later, I can read those poems, and almost remember what I was thinking, and feeling back in those days. It's like a photograph, a snap shot, a moment frozen in time.
I remember in college sitting with my dear friend (who I still keep in contact with through text, email and the very occastional, and infrequent visit) in the 'Varsity canteen, over a plate of very greasy french fries composing what we later dubbed "Canteen Poetry." We thought that this was hilarious. I think my friend submitted the poem to one of the college newspapers, and it was published. She still has that poem.
So, I guess I have so many positive associations with poetry, that for me, the question is not "why poetry?" It is simply, why not?