I believe both poetry and social media are global platforms for authentic intimacy and connection. This intimacy is vital to the nurturing of empathy and individual self-awareness and growth. My poem, “there’s an app for that ghazal,” is an expression of this belief and an illustration of its truth.
This piece was born during a time when I was studying the ghazal form and experiencing a streak of frustration with the negativity my surroundings expressed towards poetry and social media. I learned about an application that was developed to track emotional statements made on Twitter and create a physical map of emotional places. For instance, any user who Tweeted that they were depressed would be placed on the map; these entries could then be tracked so an individual could find people of all nations and ages who felt the same emotion at the same time. I was entranced by the intimacy of such an application. It was an answer to the isolation of emotional suppression. This application was an actual tool to show people they were not alone.
I wanted to write something show casing how this social media application created an opportunity for global intimacy and deconstructed the isolation of not having emotional support in one’s own immediate surroundings. I felt the ghazal form was a perfect structure to express this. The ghazal allows for repetition and variation, for rhythm created through rhyme, consistency, and repetition, and for a place to connect poet and audience, audience to poet, and ultimately audience to poem. Repetition of the phrase ‘there’s an app for that’ was key to giving this poem a sense of humor and modernity against content that was both ugly and hopeful.
My ultimate goal with this piece was to create a place of empathy, intimacy, and connection in a space structured by pop culture and tradition. Utilizing traditional forms to express my experiences and passions, which are largely informed by popular culture, is an approach I continue to use in my poetry.
– Cassandra Carter