Six months ago, I put up a post about poetry, commenting on why I think it matters and the state of poetry today. I asked, “What poets/poems enrich your life?”, which didn’t seem to strike much of a chord among our readership – not really surprising, actually.
At the end of the post, was a a link to an article at Salon on the sad state of support for the arts today.
What does it mean in America to be a successful artist?  Essentially, these are working-class people – a lot of them have second jobs.  They make tremendous sacrifices for their work. They’re people who should have our respect, the same as a farmer. We don’t want a society without them.
Before she got run over by a Mercedes, my wife belonged to the Tomov Ensemble, a semi-professional troupe performing Yugoslav dances/songs around the country and even in Yugoslavia. George Tomov, the director spent countless hours and significant monies collecting and cleaning/repairing authentic costumes and jewelry. While their performances were paid admissions, the dancers did not get paid and George made no profit – without help from various donors and city/state/federal funding, the troupe would not have survived. My wife drove 3-4 hours twice a week for rehearsals and devoted more hours to performing and learning the songs. She did it because she loved to dance and bring the experience to an audience. She and the rest of the troupe were as professional and skilled dancers as you’re likely to find, on a par with the Moyseyiev, yet their dedication and effort would not have earned them a living.
The final irony is that these are times when we most need the arts but seem the most resistant to culture and the people who produce it.
Serious art  brings you back to reality and makes you look at your life. Serious art makes people uncomfortable 
I’ve been thinking about poetry today because a FB post by an Agonista (h/t Scott R) about the death of a pet reminded me of Shooting the Horse. a prose poem by David Shumate.
I used to write a lot of poetry and I’ve been wondering if I should get back to fiction and poetry again. It’s less the actual time involved than getting into the proper mental state. As Thomas Mann remarked, “A writer is someone for whom writing is more difficult than it is for other people”. With the state of publishing and culture in general, it certainly won’t be for financial reasons, but as The Tentmaker said, we sometimes need to “buy hyacinths to feed our soul”.
What, if anything, do The Arts mean to you?
How much original artwork is in your house?
How often do you go to galleries, museums, concerts?
What do you read?
What do you create?