What Use is Poetry?

In a society driven by business models, I can imagine this question being asked.  Why do we not value those activities that do not fit utilitarian notions, yet are full of labour?  The Columbian artist Doris Salcedo puts it beautifully:

“Poetry is something that you cannot use in everyday life, but – like the only aspect of our world that is not practical, that we cannot use, that is outside capitalism and consumer society – it is there in its extraordinary uselessness, which is exactly why it is poetic.  Without it we would no longer be human.  We would just be producing.”

Doris Salcedo is featured in the PBS Series Art: 21 (Season 5 book and DVD).  Her descriptions of her artistic motivations are themselves poetic.

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