Stumbled upon “Japanese Poetry Persists in Korea, Despite Disapproval,” by Choe Sang-Hun from The New York Times, and found myself going back over that dangerous territory of what the purpose of poetry might be, could be and should be.
In this case, the poetic forms used by Korean poets can actually cause public shame and disapproval. Imagine getting dissed at a writers conference because you write triolets or kyrielles–not because they’re bad poems, but because they’re poetic forms with French origins. Such actions take poetry out of the realm of “just words” and makes it a very human activity.
Poetry is always important, but it reaches a new level when poets feel they have to hide their tanka and haiku out of fear and/or shame.
So read the article and think about it; talk about it with your friends; and keep it in mind throughout National Poetry Month (April here in the States).