Yesterday I went to Book Passage to buy a more modern translation of War and Peace. There, I encountered Kim Rosen's book, Saved by a Poem, The Transformative Power of Words.
I think many of us recognize that poetry gets a bum rap in this country. In many countries and cultures, it is considered essential, key. I've just begun this book but it looks like an important look at the power and support of poetry. Eve Ensler, author of The Vagina Monologues and Insecure at Last, writes in the introduction that "This book puts forward poetry as literary ecology, concerned with the protection and preservation of our souls."
Kim Rosen begins with this poem by Derek Walcott.
Love After Love
The time will come
when, with elation,
you will greet yourself arriving
at your own door,
in your own mirror,
and each will smile at the other's welcome
and say, sit here. Eat.
You will love again the stranger who was your self.
Give wine. Give bread.
Give back your heart
to itself, to the stranger who has loved you
all your life, whom you ignored
for another, who knows you by heart.
Take down the love letters from the bookshelf,
the photographs, the desperate notes,
peel your own image from the mirror.
Sit. Feast on your life.