I am a latecomer to poetry, or perhaps better stated, a returnee to poetry, having only recently been able to shed the pall put on it by well-intentioned English teachers who forced me to read, memorize, and, God forbid, recite before the class poetry such as Tennyson’s The Charge of the Light Brigade — the “half a league, half a league, half a league, onward” is still wedged in my memory between other grade-school atrocities. But I am not bitter, and here I am, more than a few decades later, though still in recovery, enjoying a poem now and then.
So today, I was struck by this from Garrison Keillor:
“Poetry is a necessity as simple as the need to be touched and similarly a need that is hard to enunciate. The intense vision and high spirits and moral grandeur are simply needed lest we drift through our days consumed by clothing options and hair styling and whether to have the soup or the salad.”
Of course, anything that takes us away from being “consumed by clothing options and hair styling and whether to have the soup or the salad” is worthy of celebration. But poetry (Tennyson aside) is as good or better a means to accomplish that as any.