Question Time: What is the Use of Poetry Meena Alexander Standing apart I looked at her and said – We have poetry So we do not die of history. I had no idea what I meant. ~ Why do we have poetry in a time like this? For me that question folds into another: What does it mean to belong in a violent world? I think of the invisible archive that each of us bears within, a deeply personal ingathering of sights and sounds and scents and bits of the sometimes ruined materiality that memory allots—and perhaps this is another way of thinking about the coruscating flow of the inner life that gives meaning to our existence, all that comes up when we dare to say “I.” And surely this is the province of poetry.