It is no secret that our new president, the Rev. Scott Pilarz, is a Bruce Springsteen fanatic, so it came as no surprise to me that someone with such a love for music would have a passion for poetry as well.
In the email Fr. Pilarz sent to the Marquette community to kick off National Poetry Month, he said, “In addition to putting us in touch with deep emotions and insights — and making us feel more alive — great poetry invites us to reflect and see our lives in new ways.” He also shared a poem from one of his favorite writers, Mary Oliver, titled “Mysteries, Yes.”
I think Fr. Pilarz touched on exactly what draws so many people not only to great poetry but to great writing in general. We read stories that make us think, and we listen to music that makes us feel. And, I’m guessing, all of your favorite books, songs, stories and poems mean something more to you than just a pretty arrangement of words. I know they do for me.
Even if we are not always consciously aware of it, we are always searching for inspiration in our lives. We are constantly defining and redefining who we are as individuals, and much of that self-evaluation is motivated by the things we read, write and listen to. And, generally, when we come across something that inspires us, the need to express it comes with it.
One of the beautiful aspects of poetry is not only that it can trigger self-reflection, as Fr. Pilarz pointed out, but that it can also serve as a wonderful form of self-expression. Whether through writing or performance, poetry is a unique method of communication that deserves a month of recognition.
It can also be quite relaxing, and in the weeks before the stress of finals rolls around, I encourage you to embrace the end of National Poetry Month and find a piece that has meaning to you.
If you don’t know where to start, head to the library. Not only is there book after book filled with poetry of all kinds, there is also an easel set up on the first floor of Raynor where people of the Marquette community can share their favorite poems through the end of the month. It is really neat to see what pieces other people at Marquette are reading and writing.
I’ve heard many people say poetry just isn’t their thing, but I’m willing to bet they just haven’t looked hard enough. Poetry comes in many more forms than what you read in your high school English classes. From sonnets, to haiku, to free verse to spoken word, I guarantee you’ll find a poem out there that speaks to you.