Tuesday, August 9, 2022
HomeMust WatchTesfahun Kebede from his Yemot Tikur Wetet poetry book

Tesfahun Kebede from his Yemot Tikur Wetet poetry book

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”The cruels become strong and the poor once died in the twinkling of an eye” from the new poetry book called Yemot Tikur Wetet. Since poetry is focused on relaying experience in a highly salient way, there is great potential for it to be utilized as a means to build empathy and bridge gaps of understanding between people who come from differing backgrounds. In this way, poetry can be a vehicle for messages of social justice.

However, this is not to say the sole purpose of poetry is to serve as social commentary. In a highly thought-provoking piece, the Poetry Foundation interviewed a few poets to probe their thoughts concerning the societal role of poetry. Stephen Burt, poet, and professor at Harvard University–and former Kingsley & Kate Tufts Poetry Awards judge–explains: “Compared to the writing of poetry, few other humans activities take place so widely, at least in America, absent even a tacit consensus as to why we do them, what good they do, [and] what the function they serve.”

Poet Daisy Fried expands upon the idea: “But politically-alert poetry is no more intrinsically useful than any other poetry…the kind of poetry is written to make us feel better, for example,” along with poet and professor Major Jackson: “The function of poetry is that it does not have any function beyond its own construction and being-in-the-world.” The mere fact that any person moving about the world can stumble upon your art and recognize something in it that reminds them of their own humanity; this act of reciprocal aesthetic experience enriching the lives of people alone makes creating art worthwhile for many artists of varying forms.

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