How can poetry set you free?
The next voice in our National Poetry Month series belongs to Daniel Sarah Karasik. They astutely examine the way in which poetry can be an instrument of solidarity. Here is more on their conversation of poetry’s ability to connect us:
“Writing and reading poetry are, for me, most often solitary acts, and I believe we free ourselves primarily together, through collective forms of being and doing—so, for me, the question of freedom in/and poetry peers into a contradiction: how can individual acts towards freedom have a collective force? And I guess my provisional answer to that question, when it comes to poetry, is about relationships: what relationships with others (other poets, other workers, other hearts) does the poem make possible, or consolidate, or propose?
Not a scholarly matter of “With what literary tradition or canon is this artifact in dialogue?”, but a comradely matter of “To whom might these words provide comfort or support or a flicker of recognition that may ward off loneliness, despair?” What encounters does the poem make possible, including meetings of minds? Can the poem be an occasion for social possibility, collective movement beyond the literary? Can it be an invitation to connect over a vision of poetry that craves—as a number of comrades put it nearly a decade ago—”the abolition of the prison, not the better care of its reading room”? A way to find each other? And transform each other?
Who knows what else might be possible if we can do that much.”
– Daniel Sarah Karasik
Daniel Sarah Karasik (they/them) is the author of five previous books, including the poetry collection Hungry and the short story collection Faithful and Other Stories. Their work has been recognized with the Toronto Arts Foundation’s Emerging Artist Award, the CBC Short Story Prize, and the Canadian Jewish Playwriting Award. They have also contributed critical writing to the Globe and Mail, National Post, and Briarpatch Magazine. They organize with the network Artists for Climate & Migrant Justice and Indigenous Sovereignty (ACMJIS), among other groups, and are the founding managing editor of Midnight Sun, a magazine of socialist strategy, analysis, and culture. They live in Toronto. Their poetry book Plenitude was released with Book*hug Press in Spring 2022.