The Power of Poetry
During the course of our conversation in episode 5, Tim quoted from John Berger on the power of poetry. We couldn’t fit the whole of our discussion about this subject into the time limit on our podcast, so I wanted to share the quotation here:
“Poems, even when narrative, do not resemble stories. All stories are about battles, of one kind or another, which end in victory or defeat. Everything moves towards the end, when the outcome will be known.
Poems, regardless of any outcome, cross the battlefields, tending the wounded, listening to the wild monologues of the triumphant or the fearful. They bring a kind of peace. Not by anaesthesia or easy reassurance, but by recognition and the promise that what has been experienced cannot disappear as if it had never been. Yet the promise is not of a monument. (Who, still on a battlefield, wants monuments?) The promise is that language has acknowledged, has given shelter, to the experience which demanded, which cried out.”
from And Our Faces, My Heart, Brief as Photos
by John Berger
In Tim’s experience of considering and performing The Tempest, he believed that the poetic power of Shakespeare’s language raised the impact of the play; that poetry transcends the story, affecting the audience by tapping into shared human experience.