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Wednesday, April 26, 2006

The World As We Know It


"When it aims to express a love of the world it refuses to conceal the many reasons why the world is hard to love, though we must love it because we have no other, and to fail to love it is not to exist at all." ~ Mark Van Doren

Last night, I took my daughter to hear Lois Lowry speak on The Life of A Writer.
Lowry wrote one of Meghan's favorite books, The Giver. (second only to To Kill A Mockingbird)

Lowry's story takes us through her life and brings us to the inspiration behind The Giver, a book which is highly acclaimed and at the same time has sparked controversy by many parents who I will assume are well meaning if not somewhat ignorant.

Lowry's personal story underscores her belief that those things in life (which we all have) that are sad or painful, do in fact serve a significant purpose, without which, the good, the happy and joyful times would soon become mundane and of lesser value without such tribulations to measure against.

I agree that this is an important aspect of our lives. One which is very often hard for us to keep in perspective. It certainly isn't going the make the sad or painful any easier to endure, but I think it can give greater legitimacy to the upside of life.

Mark Van Doren's quote above is an excellent example how poetry and poets themselves can server the greater good of man. People often ask, "Why do poets so often write of death, or war?" The answer is simple... because it is there. It is real and it is before us. The same is true of love, and so many other things. In a very real way, poets are historians, recording what we see and what we feel in such a way as to give it greater meaning to others and to other generations. While all poetry is not necessarily 100% factual, it will address truths that we see and feel. Sometimes I think of how awesome a snapshot can be and the whole "a picture is worth a thousand words" thing. But when a poet reaches deep within himself or herself, and pulls out what he or she feels and put them, not into lengthy prose, but in very precise words in a very special order to grasp what was internalized, how awesome is that?

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