“The human poet was similar in a sense to the gods, for both exhibited a creative brilliance of sorts; the bright deities fashioned the luminous world, the ingenious poet fashioned a sparkling poem……understood from this perspective, the imagination was not so much creative as it was revelatory in nature.”
from The Artful Universe by William K. Mahoney
In Beautiful & Pointless, author David Orr writes, “the question is not, ‘Does poetry have qualities that are interesting and worthwhile?’, rather, the question is, ‘Are poetry’s interesting and worthwhile qualities sufficient to displace the interesting and worthwhile qualities of another activity?’ “
I find this brings art into the world of commerce. Nothing can last that is not in some way worthwhile. The quote from Mahoney references poetry from the Vedic civilization, a community that existed from as early as 2500 BC and lasted to about 300 BC.
The Vedic poetry survived destruction by being committed to memory. Most of their chants are in their original form and, of course, today committed to paper.
The Vedic connection of poetry to the divine made it worthwhile and interesting. Our poetry might be “sparkling,” but even sparkling words are often crowded out with the sheer volume of commercial offerings. A good Apple commercial is not good enough. We might argue the same about a Poet Laureate.
How do poets bring poetry to the forefront of the interesting and the worthwhile? Maybe you think they have already.