Alfred Korzybski, founder of general semantics, wrote that, "poetry often conveys in a few sentences more of lasting values than a whole volume of scientific analysis" (Science and Sanity, p. 437). He understood that poetic language provides us with a set of tools for understanding, evaluating, and relating to our environment in ways that are different from and complementary to scientific language. Not surprisingly, then, since the start of its publication 75 years ago, the general semantics journal ETC has often featured poetry along with articles on language, perception, communication, and consciousness of abstracting.
On September 28, 2016, the New York Society for General Semantics held its first Language of Poetry session, and we were happy to host our second such program on April 4th, 2018. The program was moderated by Teresa Manzella, a member of the Board of Directors of the NYSGS.
The original readings were prefaced by an Introduction by NYSGS President Lance Strate:
The introduction was followed by a performance by Martin H. Levinson, a member of the Authors Guild, National Book Critics Circle, PEN, and the book review editor for ETC: A Review of General Semantics. He has published nine books and numerous articles and poems. His latest work, a book of poems titled Signal Reactions , is due to be published later this year. He is the president of the Institute of General Semantics and Treasurer of the New York Society for General Semantics.
The performances continued with a reading by Patricia Carragon, an active member of the online poetry group brevitas, the PEN Women’s Literary Workshop, Women Writers in Bloom, and the creative writing workshop Tamarind, and an executive editor for Home Planet News Online. Her latest books are The Cupcake Chronicles (Poets Wear Prada, 2017) and Innocence (Finishing Line Press, 2017). Patricia hosts the Brooklyn-based Brownstone Poets and is the editor-in-chief of its annual anthology.