The more important question is – why not? After attending the book launch last Wednesday I am even more convinced that we all need poetry. Joe O’Connor’s unique way of finding the meaning and beauty in the everyday moments – and even in the moments that are far from beautiful – has inspired me to be more mindful of the world around me. It’s okay to slow down, to wonder, to be content with the ordinary. Our lives move at breakneck speed. We are obsessed with the next big thing, we are obsessed with work, we are obsessed with striving until we can’t anymore – intent on gathering as many things as possible. And these ambitions are not always bad, but when they go unbalanced they can be debilitating. Pride is dangerous. Poetry is a remedy
As Joe said at the reading, poets must be humble. Poets can offer a counter-perspective to a blind world and that is just as impactful and influential to our culture as advancements in technology and medicine. Joe stressed the importance of listening “with the ear of your heart” – which Saint Benedict iterates in his Holy Rule. The more we read poetry, the less deaf we become. The more we read poetry, the less we feel alone. Joe declares that “There are three truths: we are lost, we are human, we have everything we need.”
I consider myself extremely fortunate to have met Joe O’Connor and to have contributed to the making of his first chapbook. I added to Eulalia’s Why Poetry? by designing a book announcement flyer. I and my classmate, Irina, worked in Adobe Illustrator – a program we navigated together since neither of us had previous experience. It took time to learn it, but soon we started to craft a layout and design that we felt portrayed Joe O’Connor’s poetry and mirrored the look of the cover. I was happy to design something that played such an important role in the launch. Most of all, I am thankful the experiences I have had in this class. I have learned so much about the ins and outs of small press publishing and I have enjoyed the hands-on work. There is only so much a student can learn while sitting at a desk, but by leaving the classroom and getting our hands dirty we not only learned , but we experienced. That is invaluable.