Books·Poetry Month

Why Phoebe Wang believes in the power of poetry

To celebrate National Poetry Month, CBC Books asked Canadian poets what the literary form means to them.
Phoebe Wang is the author of Admission Requirements. (

April is National Poetry Month. To celebrate, CBC Books asked poets the question: "What is the power of poetry?"

Phoebe Wang is a poet and educator based in Toronto. In her debut poetry collection, Admission Requirements, Wang explores what it means to belong.

She was on the longlist for the CBC Poetry Prize in 2016 and the League of Canadian Poets ​announced in April 18, 2018 that Admission Requirements is on multiple longlists for the 2018 Poetry Awards.

"The power of poetry is as an immediate and efficient conveyor of experience that strikes with the combined energy of image and song. Each of those may be more efficient and direct in their ability to transfer an emotional experience, but poetry is the most evocative means that we have in language. It has the power of the word to make the world, and so is particularly efficacious in bringing to the surface difficult truths and buried histories that we cannot speak of but that once put into a poetic form, darts into us like medicine.

"It can also express a vision of the world not yet realized. Through this expression, poetry exposes, explodes and amplifies our desires. It is the single voice in a dry field, calling upon the gods and mothers for rain and prosperity, casting its spell into indifference and uncertainty."


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