Monday, December 4th, 2017...4:44 pmAlexis Wiggins

Solmaz Sharif & Appreciating Poetry

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While attending “An Evening with Solmaz Sharif” last Thursday night, the thing thing I found particularly striking about Sharif was how honest she was throughout the talk and especially in the question and answer period. If someone asked her a question that she felt she didn’t have the capacity to answer at that moment she would truthfully say that she couldn’t answer it. She didn’t try to pretend to be a genius scholar. She was clearly very much herself. Sharif spoke so eloquently that I ended up using my program to write down some of the quotes that I found most impressive. Her opinion of poetry was particularly eye-opening to me because, I will admit, sometimes I have trouble appreciating poetry as much as I should. However, one of my favorite quotes from Sharif that evening has helped me to better understand poetry as an art form. She said that a poem “allows for and relies on a collapse of time.” I love the image this quote makes in my head. I picture the physical brevity of poems on a page, particularly compared to short stories and books, but also the time collapsing through the words and images of a poem. Poems can tell a story or make a social comment in a very short amount of words. Because of this they do rely on, as Sharif said, a “collapse of time.” Poems collapse the classic structure of written ideas and instead condense them into little pieces of intense language. While I still may not like them as much as I do, I now have an appreciation of poetry I did not have before.

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