Why read poetry at all? Why bother to become better?
Most who read poetry read to experience joy, the beauty of language jitterbugging through time; the satisfaction of turning the key that unlocks the door to a room filled with wonder; the apotheosis of participation in sacred rites created by writers; the sudden, sacrosanct, orgasmic rush illuminating secret paths between conscious and subconscious thought.
Poetry constructs states of ecstasy and satisfaction accessible to memory and available for replay.
To which some Americans must wonder “But really, what’s in it for me?”
Learning to read poetry generates material world rewards as side-effects to the intellectual and emotional joy invoked by coming upon and embracing poems capable of igniting our unique, primordial, intellectual, and emotional responses.
Those who read poetry live more romantic lives and enjoy better sex. Translated to guy-talk, those who read poetry have more sex and enjoy better romance. This should go without saying, but now it’s been said and it should be reason enough for anyone to start reading poetry. Think it through.
Reading poetry infuses us with the capacity to read between the lines and better distill information from content.
Reading poetry improves decision-making.
Reading poetry makes us more marketable. Think higher salary and better title.
Reading poetry expands the size of our world.
Reading poetry improves our sense of self.
Reading poetry leads to a better understanding of the sacred.
Reading poetry leads to direct experiences of joy.
This list was created to demonstrate that poetry has immediate, real-world benefits. Poetic language plays no role in day-to-day business communication but knowledge of poetics improves comprehension and competence. Through poetry we learn to better understand, anticipate and explain the workings of business and society; all to our advantage. The list does not include every benefit of poetry. For each person who embraces poetry, the reward for the effort varies but all can benefit.
Note – I use a very broad definition of poetry when I write of the returns for the effort. This definition includes reading and listening to poetry, stories and music; watching drama on stage, street and screen; contemplating photographs, paintings and drawings. Because some newscasters make intense use of rhetoric to couch their deceptions and since rhetoric belongs to the tool-box of poetics, learning to objectively listen to the lapdog political pundits that permeate news media counts as poetry … in a way … but only if we learn to parse the slight-of-hand.
© 2009 Chrome Poet