WHY POETRY IS IMPORTANT
BY SARAH FADER
As readers, we know about the importance of the short story. The writer is conveying a message about life and the universe through the voices of fictional characters. This is what literary fiction is about. Poetry, on the other hand is about raw emotion. A poem communicates how the writer is feeling in that moment.
I prefer writing poetry to prose. In musical theater, they say that when emotion is too intense to bear the actor on stage sings their heart out. That is how I feel about writing poems. When the sadness overcomes my body and soul, all I have left to do is write. My fingertips hit the letters on the keyboard as tears pour down my face. My heart bleeds out the words and I watch them appear on the stark white page.
My words are my truth. I don’t know where they come from. All I know is when I feel them vehemently, I have no choice but to write. My mother once told me that she felt like a teakettle boiling with water. The emotions overtook her body. She felt trapped inside herself. As a child I wondered what that meant. Now, as a 35-year-old woman, I know. My advice to her would be to let the water overflow and write her words. Speak her truth.
Poetry is brutal raw truth. It is a visual manifestation of emotionality. When I write a poem I feel my muscles contract in such a way that the white page and I are moving together. We contract and release together. We are one. It’s time to stop talking about what poetry is. Instead, I’m going to allow you to enter my world right now.
The water bubbles at the base of my eyes
I fight them
I know they are coming
He said he would wait
The white wooden door was left open
He sat in the soft velvet armchair
His gentle ocean eyes begging me to come toward him
When I approached the door
He mouthed the words
The door began to close
At first slowly
I ran to the door to stop it
As I stared into his eyes
It slammed in face
He was gone
I collapsed to the floor
My hands touched my heart
They were covered in red
I can’t get rid of this
I can’t stop it.
The door is closed
And so is my heart.
When the feeling is too strong to bear: write.
When the words can’t stop themselves from exiting your body: write.
You have a voice: use it.
Sarah Fader is the CEO and Founder of Stigma Fighters, a non-profit organization that encourages individuals with mental illness to share their personal stories. She is an author and blogger, having been featured on Psychology Today, The Huffington Post, HuffPost Live, and Good Day New York.
Sarah is a native New Yorker who enjoys naps, talking to strangers, and caring for her two small humans and two average-sized cats. Like six million other Americans, Sarah lives with panic disorder. Through Stigma Fighters, Sarah hopes to change the world, one mental health stigma at a time.
Visit Sarah at www.sarahfader.com.