This morning I came across this letter, from Katie Henson/Schmid, a recent graduate from Wyoming. She did poetry. She does poetry. Her letters are beautiful too, I’ve found.
From the letter, an announcement that she’s leaving her editorial position at The Dirty Napkin:
Why do we need art? It’s not often quantifiably necessary and that makes people feel weird. In the case of poems, you can’t really monetize it because it’s outside of the capitalist system of supply and demand. There is no demand, only an endless supply. I don’t actually know the answer to the ‘why’ question, only that I must assert that it is important. I believe that what we do at The Dirty Napkin, that is, curate the “other” part of what it means to be human, is essential. It’s essential not because it’s therapy—I don’t actually believe it’s inherently important, artistically, to express yourself. It’s important because it’s like hearing someone speak a language you thought was dead, then finding that you happen to be fluent in that language and that you craved, secretly, your whole life, to hear a single word spoken in that dead language, and then it’s like knowing that there are two of you in the world, at least, who can speak to each other in and about this beautiful dead language. It makes both speaker and listener feel less alone. It tells us something of the nature of what it means to exist outside of the grind of supply and demand. It tells us we are worth something other than nine dollars an hour and that there is something in us that cannot be sold or held or even known. It is apart. And it needs time to itself to “do things.”
Thanks, Katie. Stuff like this makes me feel better about graduating this spring, after which I’ll move quickly into something murky.