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Creative Arts Day Speaker

Sarah Cortez  

I discovered the reading and writing of poetry only as an adult. Previously, I had considered the locus of poetry to be "somewhere else" -whether in Britain, Italy, or simply in another century. I thought that poetry was only written by people with more exciting lives than mine. What an incredible revelation to see that poetry is here, all around each of us every day. Yes- in the waiting line at the bank, in the rusty hinge on a gate, or in the lopsided gait of a mean horse.

In order to participate in the deep, silent message a poem transmits from the writer to the reader, you have to be willing to pause, to reflect. And, if you wish to write good poetry, you have to wrestle with the English language in order to put down on paper the intangible mystery contained in what you have experienced. If you want to read poetry, you must be willing to hear what the poem says to you. Both of these functions are furthered by a good vocabulary, an insatiable passion for words, and a willingness to pause. A good ear comes in handy also. Creating a readable and publishable poem takes time- a lot of it. Finding and reading poetry you love takes time also. Needless to say, as a poet and as a ready of poetry, I deem this time well spent.

Remember that finding poets to read whose work you like isn't necessarily easy. Just because you walk into a bookstore and don't like the first twenty books of poetry you pull down from the shelves, doesn't mean you aren't a reader of poetry. Perhaps, those were just twenty poets you happened not to like. I might do the same things with those particular twenty poets. But, be persistent. Somewhere, someday you will find a poet whose words seem to articulate the silence inside your very soul. It will feel like a homecoming. And, you will know what it feels like to love poetry.

Sarah Cortez