The Love and Loss of Poetry

It is a truism that all poetry is ultimately about love and loss, simply expressed in a myriad ways. And don’t I know it. Every month the Algebra of Owls inbox slowly fills with love and loss, spilling out from the screen, across the floor and down the stairs. I see it flow. It can seem heartless to send a rejection email in response to a poem about loss.

The book The Examined Life (How We Lose and Find Ourselves) by Stephen Grosz is a collection of anonymous vignettes about the patients of a psychotherapist, which slowly illuminates the many facets of loss and how in many ways we are all defined by it, one way or another.

I find this to be true. My own experience of psychotherapy many years ago was exactly that, the recognition of a loss that at the time I had no idea had even occurred, and my subsequent failure to grieve for it, or even know I needed to. How to do it. Without grief, as troubled as it is, we cannot forgive and remain haunted.

And so we write, in part. It’s hard. Harder than the algebra of owls. 

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