Why is poetry important to you?

Poetry is important because it reaches the places that other kinds of writing can't reach. I became aware of this myself when I was working as a receptionist in a hospital, and saw how much the doctors and nurses had to leave out of the queernesses and sadnesses of the patients because they were confined to prose. Prose is all right but it's a young brother compared to poetry. It didn't begin to exist until well on in the career of poetry. Poetry has all the voices - wit, sincerity, pastiche, tragedy, delight, and most importantly it's with us from the start of our lives to the end: at the start of our lives, with lullabies and mothers crooning to babies, at the end of our life, with hymns over a grave. It's there all the time, and for the biggest moments of all.


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