Some Talk of Poetry

Allison Hedge CokeAllison Adelle Hedge Coke
associate professor of English

In a world amiss with red flares, a time where reservoir waters recede from developed land back into the earth and glacial throes make life unbearable for the Polar Bear and Walrus, language and our need to communicate become key in rendering what may inevitably become the most significant pain of the planet in the modern era.

One only need read the news, traveling from town to town, to note cataclysmic environmental evidences. Global warming, finally, no secret amongst the wealthy, but as common a knowledge as those knowledges passed down through the generations of Indigenous peoples from around the globe forever warning us all to take heed—do no harm—respect the planet as we would our mother bearing all gifts for our survival in this plane.

In a world where people still amazingly managing to live as they always have, traditionally, in the mountains, in jungles, remote valleys, despite the effort of the economic, industrial machine, poetics are perhaps their purest. The oraliteratures of knowledge, of precaution—destiny—mark well the daily song and story with a poetic voice so human any hearer enters into the realm of knowns as if they were there all along. And surely they are.

Poetry is a voice inside each of us. The inner self, the spot of humanity speaking for the sake of survival. Coloring the world in beauty, despite the horrendous. Taking the horrendous and making it something malleable for all to witness and grow from.

Educating us before we make the mistakes that cause cataclysmic results for the young we bear and, thereby, need rely upon as we grown older. Poetry causes one to consider, to learn. The poet simply bears the privilege of considerate wisdom within a lingual gift ultimately given to encourage additional thought and consideration in the readers’, or hearers’ witnessing of knowns and subsequently developing further conversation thereof.

In this vessel, this creative process, pondering, and conversational consideration for the sake of engagement in humanity for humanity’s sake, the soul is virtually allowed free range. The very spirit of humanity persists by reaching out to calm, collect, converse, convey and to cajole realizations in the individual receiver as well as the masses of humankind itself.

We live in a narrativising culture. Herd mentality we heed. One yawns, the rest yawn in staggering unisons. One speaks, the rest dialogue in associative leaps of engagements and relative elements of knowns, or unknowns, which gather together our group awareness and educate us respectively as individuals. The traditional humanness within all of us who are healthy enough to have the sanity of available human relationships understood at a level of reciprocity. The human family motivation we all seek in this manner, though somewhat on different levels of assignation.

Poets, writers, artists in general, tend to have great calling to solitude. Not to say poets are not social, as the poet is often called to discover something witnessed of human nature from her fellow humankind and is, after all, very human herself, but to suggest that the workings of poetic and creative processes oftentimes take the impetus for socializing to a different level of engagement and the intensity must be alleviated within the quiet of the mind. In solitary retreat one contemplates. One considers what may be relevant to the larger conversation in humanity, in poetics and literature, so that one may add something relevantly significant to forward the conversation of humanity to a higher level of participation.

Circumspect revelations must be seeded with specificity and fully dwelled upon to be thoroughly understood for presentation purposes. The resulting details intrigue the reader, thus causing the reader to seek the challenges of metaphor and simile set up by the poet-writer to inveigle the reader to come to the exact terms of understanding the clue delivered so that the readers themselves come to the terms of revelation (new known) alongside the sayer, seemingly in a simultaneous manner during the read. Thus, poetics and literary writing give a promise of gained knowledge in entering into the conversation of speakerhearer through the reading, rather than devouring a didactic doctrine of opinionated truths, suddenly overbearing in that the delivery leaves little room to excite the reader to come to terms with knowledge and absorb its variables as if they were knowns all along.

In so much, poetry and creative impetus surround us all in each waking and dreaming moment of life. The memes are around us always.We collide into them and render what we may toward a thorough understanding of our reasoning, our involvement in living, our humanity and coupling the beautiful and the horrendous of life into the lingual presences we reveal and revel in come what may during our lifetimes. Through this vessel, those we reach share in our own revelations and move forward in their own as inspired by shared thought human.

So here I challenge you to come to meet your own revelation of the day, through considerate witnessing, colliding into the memes surrounding you thoughtfully so that you may deliver to us, your masses, the thought we need to be inspired by to deliver our own and ask you to consider the words of a traditional oraliterature poet from the Camentsa People of Putamayo, Colombia, Hugo Jamily Juagibioy, written in Kamsa and Spanish and as translated into English by the amazing American poet Juan Felipe Herrera, Tomás Rivera Endowed Chair of Poetry at the University of California, Riverside.