During these strange and unsettling times, my travel, reading, and teaching plans as State Poet Laureate have all been curtailed, so I decided to reach out via the internet. In honor of National Poetry Month, I’ve asked a number of Indiana writers to respond to a series of questions concerning the importance of poetry in our lives. Here are the questions I proposed:
- Why is poetry important to you personally?
- Has your connection with poetry changed over time?
- Not that long ago poetry was memorized by school children and was published in newspapers and popular journals. That seems to be lost. Why do you think poetry is still an essential art form?
- Why should poetry matter to the average person? Why should it be an important aspect of their lives?
Hopefully, these writers’ reflections and insights will contribute to a deeper and more meaningful consideration of the role of poetry in these challenging days and begin an online dialogue. We will be posting these interviews throughout the month of April, and encourage readers to respond to them on the website. Readers are also welcomed to share poems that have helped during difficult times. Please stay safe and stay well!
Matthew Graham is a Professor Emeritus of English at the University of Southern Indiana and is the author of four books of poetry, most recently, The Geography of Home.