A few weeks back someone asked me why poetry matters, why I seem to think that we all should read poetry, what is it poetry can give us that the everyday cannot.
My answer rambled onwards without making much of an impression. And now I only wish I'd had Ben Okri to back me up.
"Heaven knows we need poetry now more than ever. We need the awkward truth of poetry. We need its indirect insistence on the magic of listening.
In a world of contending guns, the argument of bombs, and the madness of believing that only our side, our religion, our politics is right, a world fatally inclined towards war ‒ we need the voice that speaks to the highest in us.
We need the voice that speaks to our joys, our childhoods, and to the Gordian knots of our private and national condition. A voice that speaks to our doubts, our fears, and to all the unsuspected dimensions that make us both human and beings touched by the whisperings of the stars."
Ben Okri: Poetry and Life (from his collection of essays, entitled A Time for New Dreams)