Festival Internacional de Poesía de Medellín

Essay on Poetry

By Lenrie Peters to Prometeo

What is poetry?  Does it go back to the origins of the University?  To the shatter ring inter-cosmic collisions, ably watched by celestial beings or the displays of inter cosmic flares and light flashes which acknowledged the certainty of an all controlling authority over the universe?  When a Neanderthal patted the hair backwards of her young, was this poetry?  Now with our ever increasing maturity of sensibilities we limit the poetry of experience to the written word, which is only a few thousand year old, and in decline.

Today we hold up any assembly of words which responds to the fiery times in which we live as poetry; whether there is meaning or not.  Now we need clarifying technology to lay it to the general awareness.  Though no one can deny that scientific technology also has its poetry now that it is running away in geometric proportion to the needs of the dignity of man in this age faced with the brutality of man in this 22nd century faced with the brutality of man and of nature, the decline of earth resources global warming and the rampant greed of the needs of the future, poetry is declining into the limbo of the humanity and needs the G20 of human knowledge and reflection to revive it to its former glory.

The future of poetry as with most things depends on the children.  Are they being brought up to appreciate and delight as it to inculcate as their guidelines, the spirit of poetry.  I think not.  If we are not going to allow the flames of poetry to live forever, we must start at the beginning bearing the awe and bliss which surround poetry.  To make them feel poetry as part of their games as against the crude harshness of T.V., video and even cinema.  So that they come to poetry with the salvation with the blood of everlasting life, the sense of all this including the cosmic riddle at large thus bringing the joy and respect for the pulse of life.

When Gambia heard of the annual event of poetry in Colombia there were various disappointing comments.  Oh there is guerrilla war there and people are being killed – how can they think of poetry?  Will you have enough to eat?  What if you are taken hostage?  To me the horrification of a land of poetry being lived and honored was enough.  How many countries in the world have poetry festivals?  Despite the tense and evil guerrilla war to think of the beauty of Poetry was beyond belief. 

When we think of the upheavals that have occurred the difficulties over the last century, it is appropriate to realize that the world has changed beyond recognition and belief.  Sociological and political changes that have occurred in the Soviet Union alone.  The mechanical poetry at the dawn of the Soviet Union.  Only marginally broken by Maya Skorsky and Yevtushewo and Mandestan and Akhamatova and a host of others who have plunged deep into the waters of poetry like the pearl fishers and have emerged with brilliant nuggets.

Identification which led by Gimsberg that the best poets had taken sway.  Then the revolt of the youth of the West against the status quo and the equally brutal search for equality.  More recently we heard the rappers who expect that we stand on our heads to catch their message.  Some rappers have even become personalities in their own right and have leapt into the halls of fame.  But one questions some of the morality which invades their works.  Their alignment to the coarser regions of life and their willingness to combine fame, celebrity and crime.  Poetry has indeed received hard shocks from generation of poet’s even shattering ones, but continues to exist and to remould and corrupt many generations more.  There neruda sits enthroned

Perhaps the best known dictate of our times has been the saying that jawjaw is better than war war.  What firther deleterious commentary of our times.

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