To the Poetry Lady … from Japan

The Poetry Lady received this query from a correspondent in Japan:

The poetry lady sure seems to know how to help in times of need.
So, here’s a question for her, from a fan in Japan.
My friends just don’t seem to share the poetic interests that I do. Lately I am finding myself lonely for more poetic friends. Any advice on how to go about finding them?

 Dear Fan in Japan,

Your question, which on the surface seemed easy enough to address, is complicated by the fact that you live in a culture where language … the very essence of poetry … is for you a barrier, rather than a means of connection.

You see, my standard advice to a question like yours is that to find poetic souls, go to places where poetic souls gather: Join a writers group, attend poetry readings, peruse the poetry shelves in bookstores and libraries and see who else is spending time there.

But the easy answers don’t hold in your case, because I imagine that no matter how fluent you have become in the language of your adopted country, having enough facility to understand poetry and converse about it is likely a whole different matter.

As is often the case, being forced away from the easy answer leads directly to the most honest one. That is, I believe that everyone has a poetic soul. In many of us it is covered up by our need to contend with the prose of daily life, and even by our fears of expressing and exploring the deeper emotions and existential questions that poetry brings to the surface.

So, my advice to you would be to go beyond looking for new friends who share your love of things poetic, and instead start by looking for the poetic in the friends you already have. Share a favorite line from a poem, speak of the poetic issues of the soul, carry your favorite poem in your pocket and show it to someone you care about. My prediction is that in doing so you will invite from them expressions from their poetic souls.

Let me know how your experiment turns out …

Poetically yours,

The Poetry Lady

photo by Aja Riggs