Humanities Moments

Browse Exhibits (2 total)

The Power of Poetry

Ulysses and the Sirens, illustration from an antique Greek vase

In recognition of National Poetry Month and in acknowledgement of the recent coronavirus pandemic, this exhibit highlights the power of poetry to orient readers in disorienting times. Whether such works are the length of an epic or contain just a few verses, poetry estranges the familiar rhythm and feeling of our words and gives us new ways to tell the stories we use to make sense of our world. 

In “A Poem Remembered, a World Created,” writer Nathan Nielson recounts how Tennyson’s poetry allowed him to reckon with common human forms of struggle and inspired him to respond creatively through prose. During a moment of fear, entrepreneur Kevin Guthrie shares how he turned to Homer as he navigated a family member’s illness that left him feeling completely helpless. Finally, Dr. Michael Stanley reflects on the way that Shakespeare’s words opened up a bridge of communication with his patient when all other attempts failed. 

Poetry’s “Perfect Invitation”

A modern statue of the Roman poet Gaius Valerius Catullus

Since 1996, the United States has honored April as National Poetry Month. To quote a line from poet Lucille Clifton, it’s a “perfect invitation” to celebrate the ways in which stanzas, synecdoche, and verse have affected readers.