It is said that in early, oral-tradition based cultures the poet was the most important member of the community. He or she knew all of the words -
and all of the stories that were made up of those words. Therefore, poets knew the order in which the society existed.
In pre-Christian Ireland, for example, the poet was in a social status right next to the king. In battles kings could be killed; but
the killing of a poet was considered to be the worse sacrilege.
While poets are no longer considered
vital to the survival of society, poetry, and particularly sacred poetry, can provide an oasis from the reality of personal challenges and the current chaos in the world that can lead to
a sense of disillusionment and isolation.
Chaikhana Poetry, with its
wide-ranging collection of sacred poetry from all cultures and religions, offers such an oasis. The website lists more than 300 poets throughout history, including Rumi, Hafiz, Kabir, St. John of the Cross, Hildegard von
Bingen, Han Shan, Lalla, Ramprasad, and Mirabai.
In addition, we are delighted to be able to offer you Julie Koler's revealing audio interview
with poet Ivan Granger, the creator and webmaster of Chaikhana Poetry.
interview includes recitation and interpretation of the works of several renowned poets as well as remarkable insight into one poets journey from personal crisis to the refuge of sacred poetry.
How can I explain
Beloved, they want to know:
Did I reach up to You,
or did You reach out to me?
And they want to know:
What is real
How can I explain
into each other?
~ Ivan Granger
Poetry is often the vehicle by which we learn language, through nursery rhymes, songs, and the like. And yet, interestingly, as we mature, we frequently cast aside poetry as remnants of our childhood, valueless and without importance.
can inform and transform culture.
T. S. Eliot once wrote that poetry is "not the assertion that something is true, but the making of that truth more fully real to us."
recent example from mainstream American culture better illustrates poetry's continued reverence in our lives than a single line from the late astronomer and Pulitzer Prize-winning author
Carl Sagan in the movie Contact; awed by the grandeur of first witnessing our own spiral galaxy from afar, the scientist Dr. Arroway tearfully says: "They should have sent a poet."
That Carl Sagan, one of the more informed scientific minds of
a generation, saw the need for a poet, not an astrophysicist, to explain to humanity the beauty of the universe, reveals the true power of poetry.
Raising America's awareness of poetry since 1937