As I write this, everyone is on edge, waiting to see if we are witnessing the beginning of another world war. At the same time, we're headed into year three of the COVID-19 pandemic. In this age of misinformation and disinformation, it is more important than ever to bear witness, to document, which is where, believe it or not, poetry comes in. Last week, for example, Ukrainian poet Ilya Kaminsky's poem "We Lived Happily During the War" was posted everywhere I looked.
To see that poem so widely shared you wouldn't know this, but it seems like every other day, on one platform or another, someone is asking, Is poetry dead? Does poetry matter? I am more than happy to answer: it is not dead, and it does matter, and this is why: poets are witnesses; poets document.
Shannon Phillips March 8, 2022