In 1991 there was an essay in ‘The Atlantic’ by Dana Gioia titled ‘Can Poetry Matter? It points out that Poetry has vanished as a cultural force in America. If poets venture outside their confined world, they can work to make it essential once more
This and a few other essays were then published as a book. Got to read a part of it over weekend. I was in college when the essay was published. Now 26 years later with the world so different than what it was back then, I feel that it is even more relevant to ask that question.
Yes Poetry is still there, but when you put business and poetry together, even today people raise their eyebrows.
‘Dana’ for your kind poetic minds to know is a Bachelor of Arts from Stanford University in 1973, a master’s degree from Harvard University in 1975, and a Master of Business Administration from Stanford Business School in 1977. He wrote the essay while working for General Foods and the VP of Marketing. He later quit the job after the Essay became so popular and was the most responsive article in the Atlantic’s history back then.
The response back then was a sign that poetry matters, but even after 26 years the question is still being asked in corporate circles ‘Can Poetry Matter?’
Later David Whyte had thought in detail about it and wrote a book ‘The Heart Aroused’ linking Poetry and Corporate America.
For me personally it is interesting because I had not read this essay nor David Whyte’s book when I started thinking of Poetry as a way to build teams in corporate America. Here is a glimpse of it.
I consider poetry to bridge differences that is otherwise not easily overcome. When teams sit down to write and perform poetry they learn to take complex issues and break into simpler ones.
Will write about that tomorrow and why think so.