When I was in high school I wrote a poem about an evil commander of the Schutzstaffel during WWII. The story builds and swivels like an episode of the Twilight Zone. After years of imposing fear upon the innocent, the commander wakes up one day to find that he has switched places with his victims. The poem was published in a young-writer’s book and maybe someone somewhere enjoyed it. I learned the dramatics of story by trying to create it. Poetry isn’t lame; it unfolds the imagination.
The City of Reno is restoring the Poet Laureate office. This is a person appointed to promote poetry as both an art form and a means of inspirational public commentary. I know what you’re thinking…and yes, it does seem a bit silly for the City’s Charter to designate such a role. But, it’s unique traditions like these that frame a City’s culture, its brand.
My favorite Robin Williams movie is Dead Poets Society. Williams played an english teacher named John Keating. I think he describes the brilliance of poetry best when he said, “We don’t read and write poetry because it’s cute. We read and write poetry because we are members of the human race, and the human race is filled with passion. Medicine, law, business, engineering, these are noble pursuits and necessary to sustain life. But poetry, beauty, romance, love, these are what we stay alive for.”
If you’re interested in applying for Reno’s Poet Laureate, click here with a barbaric yawp!