This is a quote from Adrienne Rich that hangs on the wall in my AP English class. The example that made me notice it was Eavan Boland's "That the Science of Cartography is Limited". The thought is that a poem fills in a void that had previously not been talked about, either because it had never been noticed, or never been seen as poetic, or ignored because it was volatile, or...

There are a million reasons why a poem hasn't been written or spoken about something. There are poems that shock because they are about subjects that no one can stand to hear; there are poems that see some quotidian aspect of the world in a new light and redefine it. Ms. Rich was speaking of political poetry, poetry that points out injustice in whispering assonance and shouting couplets, poetry that stirs up emotions beyond the melancholy and beautiful, but it can apply to anything.

Silence must be broken because it is an unspoken necessity of human life. Man, Woman, Womyn, whatever, they all desire to define and express the world around them. By Ms. Rich's definition, we all speak poetry every time we open our mouths with a new thought; the first time that we notice that a field of geese looks like dinosaurs grazing on a Mesozoic plain and tell a friend is the first time that we break a silence in observation.

Words are, of course, a poem, filled with unconscious meter and rhyme; Shakespeare writes in iambic pentameter because it is what naturally flows from the tongue. So remember: every time you speak in terms of something new (new to you, forget if your radical ideas have already occurred to others), you speak in poetry. You break an uncomfortable silence and fill it with words.

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