Poetry and Art: a vital force

"La marcheuse des îles", painting by Wifredo Lam, 1944 © Wilfredo Lam

Music, poetry, dance and visual arts constitute the cement of social life celebrated by UNESCO each year on the occasion of World Poetry Day.

Tagore, Neruda and Cesaire chose the poetic world and the artistic expression to put down roots and pass on their political, cultural or spiritual contribution, restoring the role of art and poetry as a link between the cultures and between Humanity and the world.

According to Tagore, poetry is always connected with transcendence. He believed that the most fundamental need for an individual is to achieve the union of beauty and goodness and understand the mysterious, troubled connections within the fundamental aspects of life. The mission of the poet’s or artist’s work is to resolve that mystery and, according to Tagore’s concept of infinite love for life and nature, poetry is the way to access ‘the aspect of divinity which has its unique place in the individual life, in contrast to that which belongs to the universe’.

As for Neruda, he wanted above all to be the poet of his time, his country, Chile, and later on his continent. A poet among poets, that was the existential role he took on from his early Youth. Because it has to reach everyone, poetry for Neruda touches all the possible existing subjects, the political song, the image-laden language of metaphor, the simple, day-to-day message and the love poem.

According to Neruda, poetry is ‘a public service’. It is defined by the unbreakable bonds between writing and commitment, humanism and poetic materialism: ‘Poetry is always an act of peace. The poem comes out of peace as bread comes from flour.’ To Neruda, the poem is a song that is shared as bread should be shared, like a familiar light that illuminates the most material and earthbound elements of existence.

From his earliest work poetry was the founding speech for Aimé Césaire. Poetry and art are forms of total communication, that transcend common language, viscerally connected to all who participate, in a creative urge, in dialogue and the universalization of values for the liberation of the human and the humanization of individuals: ‘... I maintain that poetry, true poetry, is truth, that it is the Truth, fundamental, the truth from the depths of being.’

By their polymorphic commitment, Tagore, Neruda and Césaire contributed to the permanent and moving redefinition of Culture. Their poetic and artistic works constitute many messages into the field of intercultural dialogue, involving the meeting of a new oral language, and a revival of art and poetry as ways of understanding, formulation and interpretation of the world and as paths for expressing feelings and the existing connections between humanity and nature, between humanity and consciousness, between humanity and the world.

More information:

Back to top