When I first saw an announcement of the book Poetry At Work from T.S. Poetry Press, I didn’t know if it would be about the desperate need for poetry at work in the world or about poetry that can be found on the job and other places not typically known for their poetic environments – to which, I say, yes, and more!
In a slender volume filled with interesting observations and insights into the rhythms and routines of everyday life, poet-writer-editor-executive Glynn Young attunes our ears to hear poetic rhythms and accustoms our eyes to see fresh subjects abounding in the corporate world – even in such unlikely places as a boardroom.
During a mundane, mandatory weekly meeting, for instance, Glynn begins to “hear a submerged conversation. The same ideas, statement, voices and goals are converging to form an almost musical repetition,” and he realizes, “It’s poetry” – poetry “so embedded in the presentations we make, the spaces in which we work, and the successes and failures and challenges of work, it can’t be separated from them. When we work, we express and create poetry.”
Although poetry exists almost everywhere, everyone doesn’t necessarily see or hear such potential. As a corporate executive, however, Glynn looked for interview candidates with poetic tendencies – people who “make the uncomfortable observations, point out the embarrassingly obvious, cut through the thicket of workplace jargon to get straight to the point, and ask “why” about the ridiculous aspects of the organizational culture. They may never write or read a line of poetry, but they behave just like the people who do.” Or, as he goes on to say elsewhere, “Poets in business hear things others can miss.”
Being honest, thinking outside the writer’s block, looking for creative solutions in handling crises, and “analyzing and studying to reap every possible benefit and insight – that’s what poets do with every aspect of life.”
Whether dealing with humdrum routines or fear of the unknown, threats of layoff or career changes, work overload or job stress, Poetry At Work helps poets - and everyone else - to see the value of poetry at work and at play almost everywhere.
©2013, Mary Harwell Sayler
Poetry At Work, paperback