When I read poetry, I want to experience a fierce loosening of thoughts. I read poetry because I want to move away from the material world and to find epiphany. I read poetry for language pleasure. I read poetry because I am angry at generic and literal forms of interpretation. I read poetry to be united with others. I read poetry so that I am true to my own need for solitude. I read poetry because it’s so human in its frailty and yet so strong in its humanity.

—Deema Shehabi, from an interview with Fringe Magazine

Poetry as a way of approaching the world — as the urgent effort — probably futile — to get at something inside or outside through language — or to escape into language as a way to survive a brutal material or psychological world. Somehow language — the effort in the ineffability of words — can save us if we can engage at a deep enough level to get past the pain. That’s then a poem and more than a poem. It’s a mode of living. What we call a poem might not be more than a momentary snapshot of an ongoing life in language — a dislocation, an exile. 

—Norman Fischer, “Poetry as path, as weapon: On Uche Nduka

Poetry for me is like a window that opens automatically whenever I go toward it. I sit there, look out, sing, shout, cry, merge with the image of the trees, and I know that on the other side of the window there is a space and someone hears me, someone who might live two hundred years hence or lived three hundred years ago. It makes no difference—it is a means of connection with existence, with existence in its broader sense.

—Forugh Farrokhzad, in an interview

Rachel McKibbens - Poetry As Therapy

Rachel combines her personal story with her spoken word poetry to explain how the practice of sharing written words aloud in an environment of safety, encouragement and support is an invaluable, cathartic experience of emotional and intellectual re-framing.

…the idea of alienation. And loss. I believe that that’s the beginning of poetry. Poetry begins with alienation, and poetry speaks against our vanishing. The lyric poem in particular seems to me to have the burden and the splendor of preserving the human image in words, as the most intense form of discourse. Poetry speaks about and against loss in its root function. I see the writing of a poem as a descent. The descent is psychological. That which is darkest in human experience. It can be in yourself, it can be in others, it can be in the death of someone you love. It’s a descent into the unconscious. You try to unearth something. You try to bring something to the light.

— Edward Hirsch (via ahuntersheart)

I still feel that poetry is not medicine — it’s an X-ray. It helps you see the wound and understand it. We all feel alienated because of this continuous violence in the world. We feel alone, but we feel also together. So we resort to poetry as a possibility for survival.

You tried to change didn’t you?
closed your mouth more
tried to be softer
less volatile, less awake
but even when sleeping you could feel
him travelling away from you in his dreams
so what did you want to do love
split his head open?
you can’t make homes out of human beings
someone should have already told you that
and if he wants to leave
then let him leave
you are terrifying
and strange and beautiful
something not everyone knows how to love.

Warsan Shire, “For Women Who Are Difficult to Love,”  (via sotla)

I had the dream where you read your own poems,
Like those written sometime ago,
only these were in the grey book
written after death…

And you look finer, paler and tinier every passing moment,
Then you disappear.

The last to vanish were your hands
And only the poems were left unharmed
And in the poems was left
someone’s heart.

Grażyna Chrostowska, “The Dream" translated by Jarek Gajewski (via ophelia sings)

Into what waters do we fall
when we leave, if time does not exist?
What is the depth of heaven?

Manuel Ulacia, from “The Stone at the Bottom” (translated by Reginald Gibbons)