At any level of language acquisition, reading poetry is beneficial. Few people make a living reading or writing poems these days. So in a world of "Spanish for Business" and "Medical Spanish," why are poems important?
Poetry requires a writer to eliminate words and keep only the bare essentials. Rarely in this life are we presented with a choice that requires us to "forsake all others." Weddings are one time like that. Backpacking trips are another. But usually, at least in 2008 in the USA, we can rent a storage shed, fill a garage, and opt to just keep everything.
Poetry invites us to say goodbye to the unnecessary and keep the essential. In communication, whether in our first, second, or tenth language, each conversation invites us to do the same. What ideas do I wish to convey to my children during this breakfast together? What do I want to say to my husband before I fall asleep tonight? What do my parents need to know next time I talk to them?
Poetry is not simply romantic expression, or the trappings of old-fashioned courtship, or making empty promises that one does not intend to keep. Classics in the poetic tradition lead us to examine who we are, what we believe, what matters to us, whose we are, and what choices we make.
What's your favorite "poema" and who is your favorite "poeta"--and why? Give it some thought and let me know.