Last year, on the weekend before Valentine's Day, I was given the incredible honor of spending a weekend In beautiful Verona, Italy during their "Verona in Love" festival as one of the three winners of Il Club di Giulietta, or "The Juliet Club's" 2011 "Dear Juliet" Prize.
If you've ever seen the film "Letters to Juliet", then you may have heard about the Juliet Club. This association consists of a group of women in Verona known as the secretaries of Juliet. Throughout the year they respond to love letters from all over the world written to Shakespeare's heroine seeking advice and inspiration concerning this beautiful, universal truth. On Valentine's Day each year, the club awards the writers of the letters they found to be the most heartfelt and beautiful over the course of the previous year.
It is only now, a year later and an ocean away from where I first wrote my secret feelings to Juliet, that I feel the courage to openly share this tribute to my letter; one that a group of remarkable women, for some reason, found prize-worthy. I am grateful to them not only for this honor, but for voluntary work and time they invest in keeping the idea of true love alive. When so much of our world tells us the opposite, everyone needs the type of encouragement that these women provide; to hold on to hope, have courage, and most of all, never lose faith in love.
Verona in Love Festival
We don't read and write poetry because it's cute. We read and write poetry because we are members of the human race. And the human race is filled with passion. And medicine, law, business, engineering, these are noble pursuits and necessary to sustain life. But poetry, beauty, romance, love, these are what we stay alive for. To quote from Whitman, "O me! O life!... of the questions of these recurring; of the endless trains of the faithless... of cities filled with the foolish; what good amid these, O me, O life?" Answer: that you are here; that life exists, and identity; that the powerful play goes on and you may contribute a verse; that the powerful play goes on and you may contribute a verse. What will your verse be?-John Keating, Dead Poet Society