Poetry, for many, is probably not as important as other things to deal with in life. It doesn’t make one rich. Which is true, if one thinks of richness only in terms of money. But for me, a rich person is one who is able to touch other people’s lives positively, one who is able to make himself/herself useful to society.
I actually know of some people who still think of poetry (and art and literature in general) as “stupid” endeavours. I feel sad for them.
They probably do not know that poetry plays a major role in shaping our humanity. Without poetry, we’d be reduced to mere creatures without souls.
Poetry can cure illness, political chaos, and social stigma, even personal depression. Poetry gives us an avenue to express our actions, characters, the chronology of events, times and history, experiences, settings, and our motives in our lives. Most of all, it allows us to touch other people's lives.
Poetry as we all know is also called poesy from which our Malay word “puisi” originates.
Poetry is not just an art. It's beyond art.
Poetry allows us to access different things that happen in our lives. Its power reinforces our desire to change, our desire to be the catalyst of change. To me, it is intellectual “insanity” that drives us to create changes to ourselves and others.
We are here today because we want to share how poetry has touched our lives. There are many of us. So we have many stories to listen to.
Don’t hesitate. We don’t really need to be poets per se in order to write poetry. What makes one a poet is just what poetry makes him one. Poetry is within us, it is us, and it is all around us. Eventually, poetry makes us even richer than others once we make it a channel and outlet towards something good.
Poetry can be shouting for some, can be voicing hatred, can be making other things fight. But it is also making hate melt and evaporate like smoke going up and disappearing through air.
Also remember, we write not to compete with others. Poetry is beyond that--far, far beyond egos that often afflict us human beings. And being a poet is not simply our choice. It has been fixed by the Supreme Being because we all have roles and responsibilities in this society. (Please, please and please let’s not forget to read about society. If not by reading books, by looking and observing ourselves inside and out--who are we to others, who others are to us. In the process, let’s question ourselves if we are good enough to look down upon others.)
In poetry writing, let’s not find ourselves in our poetry; instead let our poetry find itself in ourselves. And please stop making poetry too poetical, poetry is poetical enough.
Now. Get one ringgit bill, and then create something out of it. What do you see and feel? Find your own voices from others. Hear the voices of their hearts and your hearts. Speak the truth even it is falsified. We don't need to be brave to speak our hearts out; we only need a brain to say it through our keyboards and pens.
Poetry is also a critic to ourselves, even if we are the ones speaking and writing.
Writing poetry is not fixed, but the causes and purposes are. It’s not necessary for a poem to be beautiful per se; ugliness can also be its beauty. It also doesn’t need to be academic, because academics can also diminish the thrash of poetry. Academics and the thrash of poetry compliment each other. Perhaps, there can never be a study that comes out without listening to this trash of poetry. It’s us that give meaning and life to poetry. An extraordinary poem is just an ordinary one if it doesn’t capture the agony and happiness of readers. And what makes it extraordinary is its ordinariness.
Poetry is a synoptic or a tiny novel. It’s also a laconic and subtle expression that pierces through our psyche, our souls, minds and spirit. Writing poetry is telling a story in a shorter manner. You have all key elements similar to writing stories: action, character, chronology, experience, setting, and motive. Writing poetry is reporting, like the “One Husband and Five Wives “ method or the “NEWS” method. And it is complemented with five senses--sight, hearing, touch, smell and taste.
As I sailed through the rough seas of poetry or poesy writing, I learned to name my sails as ACCESM.
In Malay I call it TIWAKPETEMO, a portmanteau of Tindakan, Watak, Kronologi, Pengalaman, Tetapan and Motif. That is why poetry writing is a significant part of our study. Poetry comes with love, romance and humanity. It signifies the joy of being us today, living our lives.
Thank you so much. I love you, peace. Let’s sail together. Layag Sug!