Language is plastic, so it’s always building, it’s always expanding. It always can be made to accommodate new ideas.
– Nicole Terez Dutton
On the Mass Cultural Council’s Creative Minds Out Loud podcast, Nicole Terez Dutton (Poetry Finalist ’20) discusses how she has used poetry to connect with community as a poet, teacher, editor, and the inaugural Poet Laureate of the City of Somerville.
The key, she says, is “developing that capacity to observe… a sense of stillness in order to be able to even just look and take in information.”
She also discusses how language can give voice to those observations, even through difficult experiences. “Assigning language is a way of thinking,” she says. “It’s a way of synthesizing.”
In that way, poetry provides a kind of context and critique for what’s happening.
“It’s a natural kind of impulse, too, to speak truth to power,” she says, “just by virtue of speaking truth itself.”
Image: (Right) cover art for IF ONE OF US SHOULD FALL (Pitt Poetry Series 2012) by (left) Nicole Terez Dutton (Poetry Finalist ’20).