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The Power of the Poetic Spirit

The Ikeda Center hosts a virtual dialogue on the power of poetry to reconnect a divided world, July 16. Sarah Wider, former president of the Ralph Waldo Emerson Society, was among the speakers.

by Mitch Bogen
Special to the Tribune 

How can we find unity during the turbulent, divisive summer of 2020? On July 16, the Ikeda Center for Peace, Learning, and Dialogue offered one answer with its third virtual dialogue event of the year, “The Poetic Spirit: Our Power to Reconnect a Divided World.”

The event centered on a panel discussion between Sarah Wider, former president of the Ralph Waldo Emerson Society and English professor at Colgate University, and Ikeda Center Youth Committee members Isaiah Moon and Valentina Frasisti. Two hundred fifty participants from 19 countries joined via Zoom.

Program Manager Lillian I opened by noting that for Ikeda Center Founder Daisaku Ikeda “The poetic spirit can be found in any human endeavor. … When the spirit of poetry lives within us, … we intuit the unfathomable bonds that link us to the world” (The Wisdom for Creating Happiness and Peace, vol. 3, p. 321).

Wider—who co-authored with Ikeda The Art of True Relations: Conversations on the Poetic Heart of Human Possibility—said that Ikeda’s poetic spirit communicates “a sense that there is this energy that’s connecting us … that the air and earth itself, and the sky, this profound planet that we live on, is always feeding us with amazing energy.”

For Frasisti, the poetic spirit means “when I feel powerless and desperate,” I can “make space for new words, new perspectives, and start working not against my struggles but with them, as if they were the words of the poem I can write today.”

Visit to read an in-depth article on the event.

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