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Poetry Matters

You can’t hurt poetry.

You can write bad poems, but that will not hurt poetry.

You can like bad poems and you can dislike good poems, and you will still not hurt poetry.

You can even write bad reviews of good books and good reviews of bad books, but even then, you will not have hurt poetry.

Poetry is an endlessly renewable resource of language.

In any moment that poetry is forgotten, it reinvents itself.

Poetry is a necessary symptom of language.

Poetry matters.

People will only listen to you ask about whether or not poetry matter because it already matters.

For example, if you asked, “Do paperclips matter?” someone would say “Well they matter more than staples, but less than bookbinding” and you would be done with it.

Paperclips don’t matter in the way that poetry does.

If you can’t tell the difference between how poetry matters and how paperclips matter, you should read some Frank O’Hara.

If you think that you wouldn’t mind not seeing a poem ever again, but you’re fairly sure you couldn’t live without paperclips, that’s also OK. Frank O’Hara is dead, so you won’t hurt his feelings.

Poetry contains multitudes.

Poetry contains more things in heaven and earth, than are dreamt of in your philosophy, Horatio.

No one ever talks about this, but it really is kind of a dick move on Hamlet’s part to insult his best friend just before he dies.

If you think you know all the things that poetry can be, you have to wait to be proven wrong.

If you love poetry, it’s probably because there was a moment when you realized a poem could do something amazing to you.

It was especially amazing because it was unexpected.

That’s what it means for poetry to matter.

Poems can change you.

Poetry can’t hurt you.

But sadly, it can lose you friends.


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Image credit: Felix Gonzalez-Torres