Why we need more young poets

Poetry is limitless. Its formula, and effect, are as varied as the poets who deliver it and their recipient audiences. Poetry is the rawest form of expression, a means of healing, a tool for raising awareness and generating understanding, a form of resistance, and a space for reconfiguration. Its potential is infinite.

This is not being realised, however, as the voices of many poets are not being heard. Whether this is due to their language, gender, ethnicity, sexuality, or age, the poetic form in which they choose to express themselves, or the experiences about which they wish to speak, poetry’s narrative often excludes those who are vital for its progression.

I wanted to create a space where one such marginalised voice of poetry, young poets, specifically those aged 18 and under, were given a platform dedicated solely to showcasing their work. So often we proclaim the creative potential of our youth without enabling it to be tangibly expressed. HEBE, whose name takes inspiration from the Greek Goddess of Youth, provides a platform where the original and progressive perceptions of young poets are voiced.

Poetry enables us to consider the innovation of youthful perception. It not only offers the most concentrated form of other people’s realities, it can also provide an elevation above reality itself: the promotion of alternative realities. It is through listening to the alternative realities devised by the most inventive of our society that we are personally encouraged to reflect on more varied perspectives.

We are in need of more diverse and original perspectives than ever before, because we are living in a world where the future holds extreme levels of uncertainty. This uncertainty exists in the form of levels of global warming too unique in their extremity to be sure of their outcomes. It exists in the technologies of global corporations set to not only access, but also alter our biological and psychological compositions, in ways not fully fathomable to even those creating them.

With this unpredictability ahead there is a need, more so now than ever, to listen to new contemplations on how best to process and deal with the prospect of an unclear future. We need more young poets to project their alternative realities so that we can better explore the plethora of potentials to dealing with the future’s uncertainty, from the very people who will have to come to live it.

Why does poetry facilitate such a progressive medium for doing this? Because it’s increasingly unrestricted nature actively promotes creativity. It doesn’t impose limitations of realism on the imagination, but instead encourages thinking that is innovative and often in opposition to opinions already in circulation. What’s more, it takes as much care of our psychological as well as practical needs when considering how best to approach the future.

Listening to the work of young poets is one of the many ways that we can better make sense of, and prepare for, the unknown. HEBE poetry magazine is at the forefront of providing a space within which their voices and invaluable guidance can be heard.

Words by Becca Stacey, illustrations by Lotta Skule