Books·Poetry Month

Why poetry matters to poet, novelist and playwright Priscila Uppal

During National Poetry Month, CBC Books asked Canadian poets what the literary form means to them.
Priscila Uppal was a Canadian writer. (

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

Priscila Uppal is a Canadian poet, novelist and playwright based in Toronto. She is the author of 10 collections of poetry, including Ontological Necessities and Sabotage.

"What is the power of a sunset? Of a cat purring on your belly? Of the fragrance of a robust Grenache red wine? Of a sweet kiss upon your waking lips? The power of poetry is difficult to measure or quantify and yet you know its power when you witness its effects. Poetry first triggers something inside of you, then expands to fill your whole being, and then facilitates a palpable release of emotion.

"The emotion can be complex and multi-faceted: a mix of joy and sadness and wonder and anxiety. The emotion can also be accompanied by a time shift: to memory or the present moment or to a future time you have just now been given an inclining about. When poetry works, the words — like that sunset on the horizon — activate an inward as well as an outward expansion — and its resonance is as mysterious as the universe."