Art That Helps Us Live

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–by Elaine Schleiffer

Elizabeth Lund recently reviewed Gregory Orr’s new A Primer for Poets and Readers of Poetry in the Washington Post, calling her review “Everything you ever wanted to know about poetry (but were afraid to ask)”. Orr writes that poetry “helps us live by expressing our experience and at the same time moving the experience a bit away from us—to the world of words, where it can be shaped or dramatized into meaning.”

Big words for a diverse art form. And whether or not we all believe that an Instagram post from Rupi Kaur, an elegy from Christina Rossetti, a paragraph from CD Wright, or an image from Mary Ellen Solt help us to live, the discussion of who lives, and how they live, and what art speaks to their life, is one that invites both questions and fear of asking questions.

At Guide to Kulchur, we’re asking questions like: what could the impact be of putting on more than three hundred events in three years? How do we build a collaborative community of artists whose work span every genre, style, and category of work? What happens when you put a poet, an essayist, and an emcee in a room and ask them to craft a story together? What does it look like to center marginalized voices and the art of marginalized people? What happens if you and I, as readers and writers, eschew all the old classics and canonical readings, and define the art form by its impact for and on ourselves?

At an INCITE event, Dave Lucas, the new Ohio poet laureate, told us that the canon is “not a zero-sum game—there’s not enough time in a lifetime to read everything that matters, but that’s why there’s The Canon, which is not real, and the canon that every person has for themselves.”

Come explore what it means to create art outside of the mainstream with our INCITE series. In collaboration with Cleveland Tapes, artists and writers and poets and filmmakers from all walks of life tell us what it means for them to work toward art that is individualistic, authentic—art that is real, art that helps us live.

What are you afraid to ask about poetry?




Join us at an INCITE event and add your voice to the discussion! Take a look at our calendar of events and our upcoming workshops, performances, and discussions. Click here to see our calendar.

Want to hear more from our conversation with Dave Lucas, and other INCITE events? Join our Patreon, where video and audio clips, art and poetry, and more are monthly giveaways for members of our community. Click here for more info.

Support Guide to Kulchur with a monthly donation through our new Patreon campaign!

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