Poetry: the imperativeness of a shared space


Ebonee Gabhart

The importance of shared spaces that promote interest and cultivate passion towards mediums, in this case poetry, is one that cannot be overstated. When discussing mediums in this article, it is in reference to things that promote shared space experiences. Mediums warrant people to talk and rationalize together. This can include many things such as gaming, role playing that encompasses live action and writing, music and reading. For some people, it is easier to imagine this atmosphere of passion being exhibited in response to music or a sport, but these other kinds of mediums are just as valuable.

Imagine that first moment you were introduced to something you are now passionate about, how exciting that feeling was. After hearing U.S. Poet Laureate Tracy K. Smith and Kentucky Poet Laureate Frederick Smock speak at the South Central Kentucky Cultural Center in Glasgow, passion is nothing short of the feeling sparked.

What is the value of word? Really it seems like a silly question. One that when asked in my college English class I was irritated, but in this space accompanied with these particular speakers it only seemed just. What is the power of the word? How do you work with it? An art, one that feels like a chore often. Pushing through the movements of the act hoping the outcome you desire will relentlessly follow.

Tracy’s reading in this shared space created this sense of community for local lovers of word. There is a need for this acknowledgement and gathering. There is a yearning for words to come to life within a poem. There is a people dedicated to consuming, to hearing out, to being present while poets read. What I’ve learned is that reading, just breathing life into word, is an art that must be shared, and in this open space we listen.

Glasgow Daily Times covered this event in their article “The language of poetry: U.S. Poet Laureate speaks in Glasgow” by Will Perkins. Perkins highlights a discussion had by Smith and Smock regrading the “hunger” for poetry that Smock has experienced in rural areas.

“Once you get away from Louisville, Lexington and Frankfort, there’s a real hunger for poetry,” Smock wrote. “And when you think about it, when we were children, we loved poetry. Kids get it, and part of the joy in speaking to groups, especially student groups, is to reconnect them to that joy that poetry can provide.”

Efforts like the ones carried out by U.S. Poet Laureates to spread the art of poetry should show other communities the benefits of opening up areas for readings or just promoting poetry in general. Smith puts it perfectly when she mentions in her discussion with Smock, “poetry is a vehicle for listening and coming together.”