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The Value of Poetry with Dr. Peter Meinke

SPC Programs & Events

By Quentin Doerges

On Thursday, April 26th, people gathered around to listen to Dr Peter Meinke, Florida’s Poet Laureate, talk about the value of poetry. In honor of poetry month, Meinke shared a few of his own poems expressing concern for certain crisis’ that surround our society today. Plenty of people showed up to here Meinke talk about his passion for poetry, and hopes it can help inspire everyone, and especially our youth.

Everyone was intrigued and enjoyed Peter Meinke talk about his poetry. He also gave some advice on what it means to be poet, and how you can help improve your poetry skills. Firstly, Dr. Meinke says, “to become a good poet, you need more than just creativity, you need instinct and discipline.” He indeed wanted to emphasize the importance of actually practicing the writing as much as you can to help get the creative juices flowing and kicking into action. Second, he says, “poets are like athletes, there is sometimes competition, there is practice/exercise, and there is certainly hardship.” Dr. Meinke frequently wrote about sports in his poems, and wanted to point out that being a poet is something that can truly give your life meaning, as long as you strive farther and farther to the highest point you can.

Dr Meinke also had a great Q&A session with people who were fascinated by his work. The first question asked from a student was, “where do you believe the future of poetry lies within the current generation?” Dr. Meinke introduced this topic by mentioning one of the renowned poets he had seen recently, Patricia Smith, who had performed slam poetry, a type of ‘spoken word’ poetry that he believes will be much more influential in the years to come. He also mentioned that there will be more emphasis on oral poetry, and poetry that is easier to get published online.

Another question Dr Meinke was asked was, “who are some of your favorite poets and how do they inspire you?” Dr. Meinke pointed at numerous poets such as: Howard Nemerov, Robert Frost, Emily Wilding Davison, Maxine Kumin, Emily Davidson, and his most influential being William Meredith. Meredith’s poetry was especially important to Dr. Meinke because of the powerful message he drew in his poetry. He wanted to emphasize the crisis’ that happen around the globe, and encourages young poets to take a look around them, see what is happening, and most of all: “do not be blind.”

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