. . .
you have a poem to offer
it is made of action
. . .
— line from “Poem by Poem” by new poet laureate Juan Felipe Herrera. (This poem was written for the people killed at Emanuel AME Church in Charleston this June.)
Poetry is a call to action and it also is action. Sometimes we say, “This tragedy, it happened far away. I don’t know what to do. I’m concerned but I’m just dangling in space.” A poem can lead you through that, and it is made of action because you’re giving your whole life to it in that moment. And then the poem — you give it to everyone. Not that we’re going to change somebody’s mind — no, we’re going to change that small, three-minute moment. And someone will listen. That’s the best we can do.
— from an NPR interview w/ Juan Felipe Herrera. Check out the rest of the interview notes here.