Does Poetry Matter?

Does Poetry MatterRecently I covered a talk by accomplished actor Giancarlo Esposito, perhaps best known for his role as Gus in “Breaking Bad” (Esposito is also a Broadway performer, father, and director). He shared some stories of professional disappointments, and then described what he does to recover from them: He reads poetry.

HE READS POETRY?! It was difficult to keep my jubilance under wraps. In my head I did a little victory dance for poets everywhere, throughout time (I’m talking to you, Rumi).

When I was a child, I carried an excerpt of an E.B. White letter. I ferried it everywhere in my purple leather wallet. When it wasn’t on my person, I kept it tucked away it in the top drawer of my dresser. It read:

“The normal fears and worries of every child were in me developed to a high degree; … the uncertainty of the future, the dark of the attic, the panoply and discipline of school, the transitoriness of life, the mystery of the church and of God, the frailty of the body, the sadness of afternoon, the shadow of sex, the distant challenge of love and marriage, the far-off problem of a livelihood.”

Like the singing bowl struck at the end of a meditation session to bring one back to the room with ever receding waves of sound, White’s words struck a tone in my being that continues to resonate. That quote ushered me from solitude into a community of poets. It provided solace. Thank you, poets. Thank you, Giancarlo Esposito. You aren’t alone. And neither am I.