Monday, 4 March 2013

Topic 3 for PP Chatroom: Is Poetry a Religion?

Editorial Note

As readers and browsers may well have noticed, our second chatroom topic about what poetry is in essence has received much more attention than the first one. We hope and encourage more poetry fans to stop a moment and participate in the discourse, by reading our observation/question, or even by making written comments. Indeed, we would be readily glad to publish any written comments we find informative, intriguing or inspiring, just as we did with Michael Dalvean's.

The Observation

Very few people would endorse Percy Shelley's claim about poets being 'legislators' nowadays; however, poets still seem to function as the engineers or care-takers of the human soul. Although more and more people tend to go to music, sports and all kinds of tv or online programs for sensual or intellectual entertainment, there are numerous individuals actively engaged in the reading, writing, editing and publishing of poetic works. The very fact that a new literary/poetry outlet comes into being almost on a daily basis pinpoints poetry as something still very much alive. While there have been countless sayings about the close interrelationship between poetry and the soul, the first poetry therapist began to practice officially in New York last year. To some people, poetry stands not only for a way of living, but also for a cause they could even die for. In other words, poetry may have more important religious functions than many people have realized, since it operates at the highest spiritual level in the human life.

The Question

If religion can be defined as a ritualized social practice of wisdom, is poetry a (personalized) religion?

Your written comments on or response to the topic are more than welcome in the box below or at

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