The Power – And Play – Of Words

Our New Poetry Column, And Film, Art and More…

Language is the primary tool of life. We use to to communicate via speaking, writing and reading. Words, of course, are the tangible building blocks we use to express our ides, thoughts, feelings, desires and more. Words in and of themselves can be terribly fun and curiously powerful and poetry – that unique art form that plays with meaning, phrases, imagery and timing – has been declared the most powerful art form by scholars, authors and everyday folks for centuries.

This American Quarantine is extremely pleased to be bringing you this new (and regular) column to your Quarantine Life. Unpsychology has called poetry “Soul Manifestos,” and The Conversation (focusing on academic rigor and and journalistic flair) has declared poetry as having “the power to inspire change like no other art form.”

It is with those eager intentions that the volunteers have worked to bring you, Dear Reader, this special series – and our other regular features, including film and television analysis and recommendations, literary suggestions and visual art pictorials (photography, painting and more). In this inaugural exploration, we bring you the literary strokes of our friend, author and former Poet Laureate for Knoxville, Tennessee, Marilyn Kallet.

What will art (whether it be poetry, film or painting) inspire you to pursue?

Lines You Can Use

Your eyes are like Talisker
    Dark Storm,
& you look swell in a mask.

Your eyes are my rainforest
    condensed
into a tear. 

Your lips wet the petals
    of my Eden.
You are my apple & my bite.

There’s no one I would rather
    be quarantined with
than you.

You are my shelter 
    my open sky
    my eagle

My wild 
    life 
refuge.

When you laugh  
    my safe  (space) is
cracked

my walls
    come 
tumbling

(go)
down,
Moses.

Come With Me

Language, I beg you,
Build me a bridge
Between what’s known



And the mysteries.
From despair
To hope.



From culture
To culture,
Past fear.



Don’t be the dividing line.
Be the connector,
Breath, song.



Don’t make me wait
To cross over from
Fear to love.



Too easy? Then I
Will be 
The bridge.



Help each
And all
Across.



Step lightly.
Sing loud.
Taste



The sound.
Breathe.
Love,



Envision
A country 
Of kindness.



Here, 
Now.
Don’t wait



'Til the
Other side.
Word, 



Be my
Guide.
Take my hand.

Marilyn Kallet is the author of poetry collections including, How Our Bodies Learned and The Love That Moves Me, as well as numerous literary and academic publications. She is Professor Emerita of English at the University of Tennessee, in Knoxville. You can learn more about Marilyn, her works and writing yourself at her website.

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