poetry is dead

Poetry Is Dead

Death is inevitable, painful and is a rather complicated stage for the living. There is no definite finality of it either, as there will forever be questions about the dead’s arrival station. What is it that they do there anyway? Do they live an eternal life? And all that can be said is, their spirits live and exist in an entirely different realm. A realm made only for the spirits and one that separates them from those who live in the flesh.

If we introspect death in poetry, We will need to ask ourselves the following: Which parts of poetry are dead? Why are even grieving the supposed death of poetry? Because as far as I know, we don’t have to go through this process of grief. Words don’t rest; they are continually carrying life.

Dr Mongane Wally Serote said, “There is a silent scream in all the poems. There is resilience. There is a demand, a plea. The poems do not stop, they are relentless…”. In addition, words don’t surrender to death; it’s as if they have pledged to live forever. Think about it.

A writer tomorrow might decease, discontinue writing, and even cease sharing their work, but that does not necessarily mean that their words won’t live. For example, Maya Angelou‘s works will forever live as there will always be something that one would need to rise from. 

The labours of Keorapetse Kgositsile will forever breathe as we will ever need to be reminded to do what we need to do and do it better. The list in itself is never-ending. Point of the matter is, words live beyond time. They are woke spirits, they linger, and they stay around. Words remain, unlike our bodies that draw closer to the soil and burn to ashes that float away with the waters. 

They are also deemed permanent and not easily erasable the way our bodies are. Yes, I’m insinuating that poetry is a spirit, and it forever exists. And maybe sometimes when people think it’s dead, they probably just can’t seem to reach it. 

To add, It is no myth that this world is filled with poetry and many stories with no homes to go to. And with said, maybe poetry is not dead, perhaps it’s just homeless. Or maybe it’s lost, and not everyone can seem to find it although it is there.

If we dive deeper into matters, considering we observe the state of poetry in every country, various conclusions can be made. So, maybe poetry in other places is still a baby that is learning how to talk or just perhaps, it’s a deadbeat father who is trapped in his childhood traumas. 

Or maybe poetry is trapped in an adult going through a mid-life crisis, depressed and trying to pick up the broken pieces. Point of the matter is, it’s still there, somewhere above the waters.

On a different streak, if we ever begin to talk about poetry that decays within us, I would like us to remember that sometimes not everything is meant to leave the body. If we have to start a conversation about that, we would probably be reminded of the digging that each individual would need to do. In reality, it takes more than one person to dig; that’s how difficult it can be. Also maybe sometimes it’s safer not to dig.

Maybe it is relatively safer to start and change your perspective about the life of poetry as it is different from your life as a human. Since poetry sometimes feels out of reach, maybe all we need to do is just be a little bit patient with the thought.

Take this time and ponder what you could do differently as a poet or a lover of the art to ensure that poetry breathes at every corner of this earth. There are so many changes that can be made to change the narrative of what people think about poetry. Be mindful about the generations that come after you and what you will be leaving them. 

In pursuing this the journey of enhancing and transforming the poetry industry, don’t forget to keep in mind the people who laid the groundwork for you. Allow yourself to be guided by them and build on what they have given you.

In all, let us remember that sometimes digging is not the answer, perhaps building onto the foundation and working with what we have is all that we need to do.

Do you think poetry is dead? Next: Check out this Article by Muskaan Ayesha on the benefits of poetry.

Poetry is dead Thandiwe Nqanda

About The Author

Thandiwe Nqanda

Thandiwe was born and raised in the Mother City of Cape TownSouth Africa. She’s an avid poet and writer, currently pursuing a Quadruple Major in Bachelor of Arts at Wits University.