Keeping Poetry Alive In This Modern Age

by Rita Ames

There are a finite number of topics available for literature and poetry and it is imperative that each generation apply their own new take on it in order to keep it alive . Life, Love, Death are probably the three main protagonists in this argument.

Clark Cook said in another discussion on a similar subject

“So different Ways of Seeing, different Styles, different modes that reflect OUR singular ways of expression–that’s what we have to offer ourselves and those who read us. That’s what Shakespeare was talking about with:-

…and as the imagination bodies forth

the forms of things unknown–

the poet’s pen turns them to shapes

and gives to airy nothing

a local habitation and a name….

It is exactly right inasmuch as, in order to move poetry and literature forward, we must approach it from a new angle, using creative stealth to sneak up on it. Once we have caught that new insight we must then allow it to evolve into a new life, taking its place as the next stage in the progression of the written word.

Relevance to each generation is important but so is using a classic turn of phrase and bringing it into the light of modernity. If we can do this, either by producing something with a modern subject matter, but written in a classic style or taking a historical and classic topic, such as ‘the women’s right to vote’ and writing something topical about women in politics today. This is merely an example of what I mean:-

It is, as always was, me against the man

One hundred years does not erase

As one word from ‘him’ often can

My confidence in my own right to blaze

I chose this topic purely because I like to evoke response not just to the poetry but also the topic, and if it prompts the age old debate again then that can only be good as it brings the poetry back into the present day.

I continue to look for new ways to view the old ways and to express my reactions to them.

These views are entirely my own (and does not necessarily reflect my actual beliefs on so-called feminism) but please debate the hell out of them if you want to.