Friday Essay – Holy Poetry

Neutron StarBy ‘Holy Poetry’ I mean both ‘Holy Poetry, Batman!’ and ‘Sacred/Spiritual/Wholly Poetry’.  I am becoming more and more deeply involved in poetry and spoken word poetry.  I have decided to put aside my half-finished short stories and  barely-begun novels and focus on poetry.  This is partly because I have to focus on something otherwise I will feel too thinly stretched and not write anything.  This is partly because a poet friend suggested I write more poetry.  And, this is partly because I love poetry.  Last week was the first round of semi-finals for Tonight It’s Poetry and, holy poetry, Batman, all the poets brought their A games!  It was an amazing evening of words and word play.  Even though I am ‘competing’ against all those folks I could not feel upset or threatened by their performances, just awe.  When first told that I had made it to semis I actually thought I might not compete – I mean, all the other poets are soooo much better than me.  Then I thought, “Hell, why not, it’ll be good experience.”  Then I saw the list of poets in semis and thought, “Well, at least I’m not actually trying to win.”  Now I am determined to bring my A game, not to try to make it to finals, but simply to not stink up the joint!  I want to know that I did my best for myself and for my fellow poets.  These people have become a real community for me.  Listening to all those beautiful, painful, glorious, transcending words on Sunday evenings has become my communion.  It is a holy thing to share another person’s experience.  Through their words all the people who get up on stage hold a piece of their heart, their soul out to be examined.  Sometimes this is uncomfortable, sometimes it is funny, sometimes it is thought-provoking, sometimes it is uplifting.  And, always it is holy and sacred. Yes, it is art.  Yes, it is sometimes the poet’s livelihood.  It is not set out as a spiritual or religious thing.  But when I am moved to tears by someone’s words, when I am deeply touched by someone’s experience, when I feel connected on a spiritual level with a poet’s performance I know this is holy poetry.

Be Lovely to Each Other,

Laura

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