Desperately Seeking Poetry

We’re kind of obsessed with poetry around here these days. One of the first things our new artistic director Kristy Edmunds started talking about when she arrived was this concept of poetry in our lives…the need for it, the existence of it, the search for it.

We’re interested in nuance. Intrinsic evocative details of life are unearthed through art and through language, but nuance tends to disappear, or become overwhelmed in our modern technological world. We shorten language, we avoid language, we allow language to keep us apart, when we can and should be using it to come together.

The thought evolved into a fairly simple initial question — Who is the Poet in Your life?

Of course, that question (purposely) inspires a host of others. IS there a poet in your life? If not, why not? Do you want one? How do you get one? What is poetry anyway? Where can we find it?

That last question has been floating to the forefront for me of late. I feel like I’ve been finding poetry everywhere, in places big and small, from an amazing Instagram shot a friend took, to a tiny and innocently profound inscription my 10-year-old niece wrote in a scrapbook we are making for my soon-to-be-sister-in-law. (“Your imagination counts. Every single thought counts.”)

I’ve even found some on the streets of Los Angeles. Yes, literally. There is a spot downtown near 7th and Fig. called “Poet’s Walk.” I didn’t know it existed until this summer. It’s a confluence of public art and original poetry, most of it created and installed more than 20 years ago.

I got wrapped up in one piece in particular, called Portals to Poetry. It’s a series of interconnected door-like structures made of steel, bronze and found objects by George Herms articulated with poems written by Charles Simic and set in bas relief on the structures. I love the idea of pairing poetry with doors. Doors open, doors close, there’s a poetry in the idea of opening ourselves up to new experiences and places by walking through a door and also a bittersweet poetic sensibility when we close a door on a part of our lives that has perhaps run its course or isn’t serving us.

It’s kind of amazing the thoughts that bubble up when you start thinking about poetry in your life.

Go ahead, walk through that door with us. Start by sharing a though about a poets or poem that speaks to you on our Poet in Your Life tumblr. We’ll be asking more of you and sharing more with you on this thought as our season progresses.

Portals to Poetry

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