Why poetry?

Every day we seek answers...
Answers that can only be found in words.

In times of bereavement, we seek comfort. In times of despair, we seek hope. In times of evil, we seek beauty. And in times of adversity, we seek wisdom.

Our lives are a perpetual quest for answers - answers that can only be found in words. And who can say it better than a poet, and what better way to say it than through a poem?

When circumstances have blinded us to the beauty of life, poetry empowers us to see it in a whole new light. In the words of Percy Bysshe Shelley: "Poetry is a mirror which makes beautiful that which is distorted." When grief has rendered us mute, poetry enables us to capture the legacy of our loved ones and to express our loss in a meaningful way. This truth is echoed by the Roman Philosopher Seneca who said that "man lifting his head from the very funeral pyre must need some novel vocabulary not drawn from ordinary everyday condolence to comfort his dear ones. But every great and overpowering grief must take away the capacity to choose words, since it often stifles the voice itself ..."

The list of ways in which poetry brings beauty and meaning to our lives is almost infinite, but perhaps most important for now is the power of poetry to enable us to transcend the difficult circumstances that face us as a nation.

Now more than ever, we should take up the pen instead of the sword, and now is the time for us to focus on that which unites us, instead of that which divides us. The AVBOB Poetry Competition aims to do exactly that...
Editor: Johann de Lange
Johann de Lange, Afrikaans poet and author, was born in Pretoria in 1959 and spent his high school years in the Waterberg district. He made his debut ...

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Editor: Dr Sponono Mahlangu
Dr Katjie Sponono Mahlangu holds a B.A degree with UNISA, and B.A(Hons), M.A. and D.Litt. degrees with the University of Pretoria. She is the Exec...

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