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Does poetry still have relevance in society today?Does poetry still have relevance in...

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rajah39 | Student | (Level 1) Honors

Posted February 23, 2011 at 12:39 PM via web

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Does poetry still have relevance in society today?

Does poetry still have relevance in society today?

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jmj616 | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Associate Educator

Posted February 23, 2011 at 12:55 PM (Answer #2)

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The French poet Paul Valery once defined poetry as "the unique intersection of language and state of mind."

That sounds to me like something that will be relevant as long as humans have language and states of mind.

We live in an age in which language has become secondary (somewhat) to image, and in which medications can even out our states of mind.  If we are to remain human, however, we need to hold on to language and to states of mind.  If we do not, we will be nothing more than second-rate computers.  Nothing against computers; I'd just rather use one than be one.

Poetry is one of the tools we can use to remain human.  I'm all for it.

 

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted February 23, 2011 at 1:58 PM (Answer #3)

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To me, the only thing that you could call poetry that has relevance today is music (song lyrics).

I would say that something is relevant to society if it has an impact on the lives of significant numbers of people.  I would argue that regular poetry (of the sort done by Whitman or Frost or people like that) does not really affect many people today.  I would have a hard time naming any poet who is alive today, much less any of their works.  When a person as well-educated as I am does not know any modern poets, poetry surely can't have the same relevance that it once did. ???

However, I would argue that music lyrics are a kind of poetry, perhaps a folk poetry.  Musical lyrics are the only artistic use of words accessible to most Americans today.  They affect many people on an emotional level and are therefore still relevant.

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rajah39 | Student | (Level 1) Honors

Posted February 23, 2011 at 2:13 PM (Answer #4)

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Poetry is used in advertisement, jingles. We see them in greetings cards. I know some teachers use them to teach reading and math. It's a method of revealing your deepest of thoughts and secrets. I believe Obama quoted one in his inaugural speech.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

 

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amy-lepore | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted February 24, 2011 at 6:29 AM (Answer #5)

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Do people listen to music?  Do they have strong emotions and reactions to current events (Egypt, Libya, etc.)? Do children still play with rhymes?  Of course, the answer to all these questions is yes, yes, and YES!  All of these examples and many more that I didn't give are poetry.  It is relevant...even moreso since we have more troubled times than past generations.  People instinctively want to tell how they are feeling, what their opinions are of certain government decisions or the outcomes of those decisions.  Poetry is not just art...it is LIFE.

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justaguide | College Teacher | (Level 2) Distinguished Educator

Posted February 24, 2011 at 11:42 AM (Answer #6)

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I would say poetry is still very relevant in all our lives. No one can deny that a person today is not very likely to pick up a book on  poetry and try to read the poems, but in many other transformations poetry is still regarded as a very beautiful thing.

Irrespective of the fact that the new generation is sparing no efforts to eliminate vowels from the English language and the new forms of words and spelling in vogue today is quite pathetic, poetry is still something that has been, is, and will always, be appreciated.

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mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted February 24, 2011 at 3:58 PM (Answer #7)

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In a new television series for this year, Bluebloods, the latest episode had a scene in which the police commissioner, played by Tom Selleck, spoke at the dedication of a new building named in honor of his son, a police officer killed in duty.  And, guess what ? Selleck's character quoted John Donne:

"No man is an Island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the Continent, a part of the main; if a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as well as if a manor of thy friends or of thine own were; any man's death diminishes me, because I am involved in Mankind; And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; It tolls for thee."

How many times have we seen the bodfaced words?  Hemingway used "for whom the bell tolls" as a title of one novel.

Is poetry still relevant today?  Do people still have feelings?  The modern problem is that the fine arts are not considered as important as they were in Donne's time or other times.  But let us not all be considered part of the Brave New World  desensitized humanoids of technology who send monosyllabic text messages or memos.  There are yet people who enjoy the beauty of language.

It would behoove many to read poetry so that they could have fresh sayings and even ideas of their own that are expressed more artistically and not be so trite. 

Above all, do we not remember verses that touched our aching hearts or elevated our thoughts?  Poetry is food for the soul.

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jmj616 | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Associate Educator

Posted February 24, 2011 at 5:39 PM (Answer #8)

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I would say poetry is still very relevant in all our lives. No one can deny that a person today is not very likely to pick up a book on  poetry and try to read the poems, but in many other transformations poetry is still regarded as a very beautiful thing.

Irrespective of the fact that the new generation is sparing no efforts to eliminate vowels from the English language and the new forms of words and spelling in vogue today is quite pathetic, poetry is still something that has been, is, and will always, be appreciated.

You write: "The new generation is sparing no efforts to eliminate vowels from the English language."

What I find is that consonants are disappearing, particularly at the ends of words.  The "s" at the end of phrase such as "he goes," and "she writes" is slowly (maybe quickly) disappearing.

And then there is the "-ed" at the end of expressions such as "iced tea" and "buttered roll."  I actually prefer "ice tea" to "iced tea," but "butter roll" gets stuck in my throat like an unbuttered, dry roll.

All of this is, of course, a continuation of the great historical tendency of English to drop inflected endings.

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justaguide | College Teacher | (Level 2) Distinguished Educator

Posted February 24, 2011 at 7:55 PM (Answer #9)

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And then, how can one forget the fist come - first serve, instead of first come - first served. Sounds more like the earlier you get there, the faster you need to start offering your services!

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lmetcalf | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Senior Educator

Posted February 24, 2011 at 8:00 PM (Answer #10)

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Poetry will always be relevant.  As mentioned in other posts, we hear and read poetry even when we aren't aware of it.  There are lots of modern poets who are making their names relevant.  A couple of my favorites are Billy Collins and Maya Angelou. The rap lyrics of Tupac Shakur have been published in book form.  My students usually stumble upon some interesting poems by Charles Bukowski.  Poetry Slams are popular on high school college campuses.  The Favorite Poems Project, started by Poet Laureate Pinsky, continues today and encourages people to think about their past experiences with poetry and fondly recall the poems that made an impact on their lives.  Poetry is alive and well!

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peaceveg | College Teacher | (Level 2) Adjunct Educator

Posted February 24, 2011 at 8:23 PM (Answer #11)

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As an avid slam poet, I can tell you that poetry is still alive and well today. I think that every generation has created their own unique style of poetry, and for mine it's slam.

Marc Smith first developed the idea of a poetry slam after 15 years of rejection letters from publishers; he was a construction worker who wanted a venue to publish/perform his poetry without editors deciding whether or not it was good enough to be shared. For me, this is the most exciting part of the movement--anyone, anywhere can create a poem that they can easily share with an audience. Both amateurs and professionals compete for titles and publish their works to share with a new audience, an audience who is hungry for words!

 

 

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booboosmoosh | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Educator Emeritus

Posted March 3, 2011 at 1:28 PM (Answer #12)

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Yes, poetry is still relevant today. There's an old saying that there is nothing new under the sun. We caught a part of the movie, All About Eve, with Bette Davis the other night. The women were wearing off-the-shoulder dresses, and I mentioned to my husband that it's the big thing right now.

My daughter dislikes the new sandals that look like they have arrived straight out of the Roman Empire, but here they are back again, and it's probably not the first time.

The best thing about good poetry is that it truly is timeless. While the Cavalier poets push their "carpe diem" message, that who "live for today" is present in society: look at the divorce rate. Shakespeare's sonnets are not always easy for kids to understand, but if they can struggle through the syntax, he still writes beautiful love poetry.

And a poem I read years ago, called "Turning Thirty" doesn't lose its appeal because it is happening to people every day.

Poetry of the past, and today, still finds a way to speak to people: a lot of it shows up in songs. It is definitely alive and well, and relevant!

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Karen P.L. Hardison | College Teacher | eNotes Employee

Posted March 10, 2011 at 7:18 AM (Answer #15)

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Poetry of the past and contemporary poetry still has relevance today for at least two reasons. The first is that truths, either universal or personal, are expressed in poetry, and the world always needs to read truths expressed in the special language formulations that comprise poetry. The second is that formulating poetry requires specific mental skills--skills in compressing complex thoughts, employing comparisons and other poetic devices, using rhetorical techniques--that can only add to the expansion of the cognitive perceptions of both the reader and the writer, expanded perceptions that can then (one hopes) be applied to one's view of the world at large.

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abdulwahablawal66 | Student, Undergraduate | (Level 1) Honors

Posted April 7, 2011 at 7:15 AM (Answer #16)

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poetry can be defined as the spontaneous overflew of powerful feelings.the relevance of poetry is very essential in the society because it is used to pass mesage on whats affecting the people to the government of a country for proper ammendment.

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wannam | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Educator

Posted April 13, 2011 at 11:32 AM (Answer #17)

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The great thing about Poetry is that it is timeless.  When we read poetry, we interpret it based on our own ideas and cultural perceptions.  Even very old poems still appeal to us and resinate with us.  Of course, there are still modern poets today.  As suggested above, we use poetry in advertising and other areas even though we might not always call it poetry.

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mhward | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted April 24, 2011 at 12:35 PM (Answer #18)

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Poetry is timeless. As long as there is feeling, language and thought, there will be poetry. The desire to write (or express oneself in any way) is almost a biological necessity for many (if not all) human beings. It needn't be poetry, either: Kandinsky, the great modern painter, was guided by an "inner need".

What jmj616 wrote earlier struck a chord with me:

"We live in an age in which language has become secondary (somewhat) to image, and in which medications can even out our states of mind.  If we are to remain human, however, we need to hold on to language and to states of mind.  If we do not, we will be nothing more than second-rate computers.  Nothing against computers; I'd just rather use one than be one.

Poetry is one of the tools we can use to remain human. I'm all for it."

Poetry (and all "necessary" art) is the thread to lead us out of the modern (technological) labyrinth.

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