Poetry and business — what’s that about?
As the famous poet Robert Graves wrote, ‘There’s no money in poetry, but then there’s no poetry in money, either’.
Then the even more famous poet Wallace Stevens wrote, ‘Money is a kind of poetry’.
As it happens, Wallace Stevens was also the vice president of an insurance company. He composed his poems on his walk to work every morning, dictated them to his secretary when he got to the office, and then he’d spend the rest of his working day making money.
‘Poetry is the right words in the right order’. Samuel Taylor Coleridge
Poetry is the art of concision, observation, and persuasion. It’s the art of paying attention to detail, and seeing possibilities. Above all it’s a tool for problem-solving — for the reader, ‘what is the world like?’, and for the writer, ‘how do I persuade the reader?’ In short, it can be an amazing business asset.
Use the toolbox
All good writing uses the same tools. Poetry is the ultimate art of getting the most possible out of that toolbox. It’s being compelling with words. It’s creating an image — your mission, your goal, the change you seek to create — with just a whisper. It’s clarity and emotional investment. A successful poem doesn’t tell you how the poet felt, it makes you feel it.
That’s what advertising does, too.
When I started writing poetry again, after a long gap of years, I very quickly realised that my professional writing was also getting better. I was more aware of filler words. I was avoiding clichés. I had a better sense of how to tell the story. I was trying harder to make the reader feel the message.
A way of happening
A poem is a thing someone made. It’s human. Even the word ‘poem’ originally mean ‘made thing’. Poets are the original makers, and making things is something I am (to use the jargon) really passionate about.
‘Poetry’ — as WH Auden wrote — ‘is a way of happening’.
Whatever you make — whether it’s doodads and thingummies, or solar doodads and thingummies, or more literate children — I care about it, and I can help you tell the stories of what you do.
If you’d like to know more about how poetry can be a tool for your daily business, get in touch and we can talk.
I can also deliver a talk or workshop to your staff, your management team, or your board.