TED Conversations

Pabitra Mukhopadhyay


This conversation is closed.

What is your poetry?

Poetry communicates what nothing other than poetry can. We all have those unspoken stories, the resounding silence and the brilliance of darkness that defy the structures of prose. Some of us can have poetry to speak for us, like Suheir does. Some of us do not have it and read it to know that someone else has spoken for us.

Leonard Cohen said, 'Poetry is just the evidence of life. If your life is burning well, poetry is just the ash.'

How well is your life burning? How much ash did it gather? What is your poetry?

Dedicated to my TED friend Jim Moonan.


Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.

  • May 20 2013: I think you are spot on with your description of how poetry communicates what nothing else can.

    As a poet, myself, I am continually drawn to writing poems that help me articulate felt but unsaid ideas and emotions. Reading your question, I was reminded of Seamus Heaney's Personal Helicon: "I rhyme / To see myself, to set the darkness echoing." and Emily Dickinson's wonderful quote: “If I read a book and it makes my whole body so cold no fire can warm me I know that is poetry. If I feel physically as if the top of my head were taken off, I know that is poetry. These are the only way I know it. Is there any other way?”

    In times of crisis, I have found more comfort and solace in poetry than anything else. Poetry is a place I return to out of love as much as necessity.
    • thumb
      May 20 2013: I took all the descriptions
      Of the world and life
      To sit at your feet
      And mean nothing
      A poem is born in that moment.

      Is it a place like that?

Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.