"Poetry is a call to action and it also is action. Sometimes we say, "This tragedy, it happened far away. I don't know what to do. I'm concerned but I'm just dangling in space." A poem can lead you through that, and it is made of action because you're giving your whole life to it in that moment. And then the poem — you give it to everyone."
~ Juan Felipe Herrera, U.S. Poet Laureate
Because I share the same belief in the power of words as Mr. Herrera, I'm stepping out of my comfort zone this evening and sharing my poem "Peace Is A Cat" at the Peace, Poetry and Prose event at out local university.
Usually, I prefer to pour my words out into a food column, an essay or a story and let those words speak for themselves. Readers are an important part of the process. They choose to pick up some words and not others, and in reading they imbue those words with their own perspective and interpretation. And thus a work is translated from one heart to another.
However, sometimes words need to be claimed by the author and spoken aloud. When the world seems to be breaking apart all around you and your heart aches because you feel helpless, "just dangling in space." In those moments, it's important to capture our take on reality into words and then release those written visions to fly free among other hearts.
So today, though my voice will tremble and I'll be shaking, though I'm mostly a very shy person and want to crawl into the shelter of a tent/fort/cave built from printed pages of my words, I will stand in front of an audience and read my poem to them.
Please send me positive thoughts, vibes and chocolate as moral support!
P.S. Here's a wonderful interview of Herrera!