Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Why I Hate Poetry

WOW! How exciting! This is a Choose Your Own Adventure post!

If you love poetry, poetry is your favorite thing, or you think poetry is the best kind of literature turn to page 64.

If you wrote a special poem for your aunt when she had cancer and it makes you both cry, turn to page 117.

If you won an award for your clever poem that you wrote in 7th grade, and the award is still on your wall, turn to page 14.

If you do not love poetry or are indifferent, continue reading.



I Hate poetry. Here’s why: I realize that people sometimes have difficulty verbalizing their feelings. That’s fine. I realize that words can be symbolic. That’s fine, too. I realize that love and death are intense, and that brevity is sometimes more powerful than lengthy writing. Okay. However: I hate that with poetry, we are expected to read into it all. In a story, themes are there, and I can see them, or infer them, but nobody expects me to make up basic facts relevant to the story. We would extrapolate the themes, or the feelings, or whatever, and apply them to our lives, but it would be all subjective and everyone would agree that it was subjective. Or, with allegories you may have completely other meanings, which are even symbolic, but it’s logical.

With poetry, you’re given basically nothing, and you’re expected to identify facts that you would have absolutely no way of knowing. It’s ridiculous. We read a poem in class, and discussed it. From the punctuation, we understood that the speaker’s brother had died really recently, probably the same day. From punctuation! Mind you, I love punctuation. I think semi colons are fantastic. When I am excited, I litter my writing with exclamation points. I am passionate about serial commas. I know that punctuation can seriously alter the meaning of text. I’ve seen that one letter that has the punctuation changed and it goes from a love letter to a hate letter. However, our interpretations based on the punctuation had nothing to do with actual, contextual meaning. It had to do with the feeling of the punctuation. Give me a break.

I do think poetry is occasionally respectable. I guess, I’m in favor of the privatization of poetry. If your dad dies, and you’re sad about it, by all means, write a poem if that does something for you. Share it with your family, and maybe maybe your friends since it will mean something to them too. But don’t give me your poem and expect me to guess that the “song of sunrise” actually meant that every summer you went fishing with him and you miss the way he would sing so that the fish would bite, and you wonder if he‘s fishing in heaven. It’s just not in there. Sorry. And that doesn’t mean that I didn’t like your dad, or that I think your poetry stinks. I just can’t understand it like you meant for it to be understood, because those words were your way of expressing your very personal feelings. I would have chosen different words. If you really want me to understand, graph it for me. Or use clear language. But the point isn’t for me to understand; the point is for you to learn something about yourself, or for you to find a way to express something for yourself. Whenever you write a poem, you’re writing it for you. Even if it’s a love poem to someone, it’s still a poem for you, because the whole point is that you want to express something that you feel you can‘t express (or which you choose not to express) in a direct method. It’s the same way that philosophically people argue that having kids is a selfish thing. Yeah, you give up sleep and make sacrifices, but it’s so that there will be more of you in the world after you die. (You can take that or leave it, but that is what some people think, philosophically, about people having kids.) So since I really do believe poetry is a personal thing, I don’t feel any obligation to guess at what it means.

I can understand how dissecting poetry can help us create symbolism, and watch for subtleties in writing. I can also see how poetry can sometimes be fun. I like some poetry, when I make it mean something new to me instead of trying to guess why the author wrote it. I do also enjoy the challenge of creating poems with particular rhythms. I like funny poetry. I think that some poems are kind of like a collage of senses; they can combine smells and imagery and those sorts of things, and that’s kind of interesting and even occasionally powerful.

Generally, though, I think poetry tends to be a big game of “Guess what I’m thinking!” and I hate that game. I’m not a mind-reader. I think a lot of people who get excited about poetry are really pretentious. This possibly comes from believing that they actually can guess what other people think. I’m not sure.

It looks like the first three weeks of my English class we’re studying poetry. I plan to do what any self-respecting person would do in my situation: BS my way through it. I’ll have just enough of an opinion about the poems to get my class participation points, and to have something to write about for my essay, and hope that time passes quickly so that we can get started with real literature.

I usually try to keep my posts very positive. I realize that hating poetry leaves me in the minority. (A Google search of “I hate poetry” returned 7,320 results. “I love poetry” returned 9,190 results. "Why I hate poetry" returns 200 results and "why I love poetry" returns 2,130.) Still, I feel so strongly about this today that I wanted to write about it.

88 comments:

Anonymous said...

I heartily agree. Well put.

Maria said...

lol I really feel what you are getting at. And yet poetry is taken very seriously in society, seen as a great accomplishment. I prefer the stuff that shows the personal struggles e.g. racism, sexism etc you know blood, dread, beat...

Anonymous said...

This entry is sad and embarrassing.

Emily said...

That you have to post anonymously is sad and embarassing.

Anonymous said...

You're all sad and embarassing.

Emily said...

Anonymous: Nope. I just reread this and it's a pretty solid post. There wasn't anything really sad or embarassing in it. If you're sad or embarrassed for me, go write yourself a poem about it. You'll feel better. ;)

Anonymous said...

Well said. I think poetry is a lot like other forms of art in that it can garner more attention than it deserves. In scrutinizing a poem, like an abstract painting, we can come to see things that aren't necessarily there.

This is why I've never liked poetry... That being said, I'm off to class to pretend I give a crap about Adrienne Rich.

Buddah Moskowitz said...

I agree it is well written, and I concur with most of it. Also, if most of where you read poetry is from the internet, I agree that most amateur poetry is very poorly written and worse, is too insular to in understand.

I have tried to write my "poetry" clearly, so that it is easier to understand. I have taken to calling myself a documentarian, and my only subject is myself.

I hope you survived your writing class.


Best wishes, Buddah Moskowitz

Buddah Moskowitz said...

http://www.loc.gov/poetry/180/001.html

That might suit you.
Regards, Moskowitz

Carlos said...

I thought I was coasting to an A in my English class, but now we're doing poetry. >_< I can't get through the damn chapters of our Anthology of Lit Text book now. Thanks poetry. You ruined my future!

Anonymous said...

I once had to write a three page paper on a 3 line poem. A 3 line poem!! My honest opinion was - the poet was too drunk to finish his poem.

But, I wrote BS anyway. The teacher said my first page was marvellous, but I was inferring too much from then on. Inferring too much??
Are u kidding me? She's the one who came up with "death and destruction" about a poem on flowers.
English teachers find absurd meanings everywhere, but won't agree if you do the same. I wonder how it must be living with one.

Z said...

http://hubpages.com/hub/Why-I-Hate-Poetry

Alan Lindsay said...

So what you hate about poetry is that you don't often understand it. Since virtually nothing in your characterization of poetry is accurate (some teacher must have lied to you), it can't really be poetry you hate. When you say you hate poetry it's like saying you hate Mandarin Chinese because it makes no sense to you. But then you've never actually learned the language, so it makes no sense. Poetry is not subjective in the sense that you seem to think. It is not about the effusion of emotion you claim it is about. It's about language. And it uses language grammatically, the way that I am using language right now, in the vast majority of cases. I speak as one who has read the entire history of English poetry, studied it, taught it, published it, and written about it. It's true that poetry teaches people to hate poetry. It's a shame. It's like hating the most significant part of your human potential. My advice: Find the poetry to do like (try Billy Collins or Lawrence Ferlinghetti for a door into poetry, or Allen Ginsberg, or Gregory Corso). Read the poetry you do like. Ignore the poems you don't like (unless your teacher asks you to take a test it, shameful thing). Poetry is a language you need to learn to enjoy.

Anonymous said...

Agree with the poster.
Poetry needs to die and go away forever or a least the study of it. Poetry does not belong in classrooms, college classrooms more so. I doubt in a future job anyone's boss will ask them to recite a poem or write one about a patient/product etc.. Unless your a jingle writer or some BS job like that. Writing classes should be about paperwork (essays and reports) not poems....

Maria said...

I wholeheartedly agree with the poster. I understand why some people write poetry and enjoy reading poetry, but students shouldn't be forced to over-analyze and over-interpret such (frankly) irrelevant pieces of literature in hopes that their English teacher might happen to agree with them. Honestly, I think that English teachers put more thought into poems than the poets do.

AJ said...

I was just discussing with a friend tonight why I'm so over poetry and he asked me "why" and I couldn't articulate the exact reason. I stumbled upon your post and you took the words right out of my mouth. And you did so, quite intelligibly. THANK YOU. I plan on reading more of your muses and tha you for keeping things real!!

- AJ, New York City

Anonymous said...

I just hate when teachers test you on poetry. Much of poetry is opinion-based and teachers still think there is a right and wrong answer.

Kenneth Krabat said...

@Alan Lindsay: Thank you.

@Maria: I agree that poetry is killed by incompetent teachers. But if you have ever had a competent teacher, with a heart for poetry, and the voice to go with it, who did not try to elicit your OPINION or your FEELINGS and have them match his or her opinion and feelings, then possibly you - as well as the rest of people in this string - would have a chance to experience what poetry CAN do, but does not always do. Much in the same way that the same ingredients can become an excellent meal in the hands of an inspired, attentive cook and a-dog-wont-eat-this-"meal" in the hands of a person, who is not attentive or doesn't like cooking.

Speaking as a writer of poetry: There is nothing inherently bad about poetry. Nothing to be understood or felt that you would not put your mind or your heart to understand in any other context.

Looking from the outside, as a reader, poetry will always be about existance: Existance as in *memory and projection*, *desires and needs*, *cost of living and loving*, *has and has not*, *pain and lessons learned*, *function and dysfunction*, *insights and mirages", *breath, rhythm and beat", *precision and overview*, *essence and detail*, *the loss and sought re-aquisition of innocense*, *hope and dispair*, *overwhelming emotions of like and dislike*... the list goes on.

Poetry is about being human. About the games people play. About living with the knowledge that life is brief.

Teachers do their best. But there are good teachers and bad teachers, too. And the bad teacher you can rightfully hate: The person who wants you to be like them. Just don't take it out on poetry. Poetry is everyone else.

Why poetry lovers are st00pid said...

God i absolutely despise poetry, it is too inefficient and boring, that being said i hate the fact that education involves us learning how people feel when they use a comma. The comma is there for sentence structure not to somehow infer what the writer had for breakfast that morning! Why people enjoy poetry i will never know, it is the most boring, illogical, disgusting use of the English Languag that has ever been my misfortune to get as little as acquainted with, let alone learn and write about.

Anonymous said...

I read a poem this evening, and was just thinking to myself it does nothing for me, in fact I actually dislike poetry, but I can't articulate exactly why right now. Googled it and came across this excellent summary which hits the nail on the head.

Michael said...

i think im in love with you... i couldnt agree more..

Anonymous said...

What I hate mostly about poetry is the stupid affected voice people put on when they are reading it outloud. I find it akin with classical musicians who pull silly faces when they're playing. It's ugly and unnecessary and they should learn some self control.

Anonymous said...

stop arguing bout - sad and embarrassing - jeez
anyways
how did you type all that??!!

Anonymous said...

...... ;)

renkath said...

"I prefer the stuff that shows the personal struggles e.g. racism, sexism etc you know blood, dread, beat... "

How sad that you haven't been introduced to that kind of poetry. Actually, I am embarrassed for poetry by what most people think is poetry. Internet and the majority of self-published poetry aside, what you descirbe is exactly what poetry this past century has focused on (many have argued that the confessionalists focused too much on personal struggles). Billy Collins said high school is where poetry goes to die. I think he is wrong. Internet, too, reeks of dead metaphors. For sexism look to Jorie Graham, for racism, look to Gwendolyn Brooks, as for beat... :-) Ginsberg would be a good place to glance. Granted, you may never turn on to poetry, but at least you'll be aware that they take on the big themes.

Jennifer said...

I would be hesitant to hate on poetry. It is a highly regarded form of art that has seen many successes within artistic and literary circles.
That said, I personally have no taste for it as well. I enjoy the sounds and combinations of words that are created through poetic art, but analysis, and the sort of guessing game that we feel we ought to participate in are purposeless. We wind up in an unending circle of reasoning as we try to uncover hidden meanings that in fact may not exist.
The clearer poems, like "Still I Rise" by Maya Angelou, that explicitly express ideas can be very tasteful and a great exposure to the human condition.
Still, most poetry is shit.

josel said...

I'm not alone :)

SigmA said...

I totally agree with the fact that we should not be expected to understand the same thing everyone interprets a poem to be about! I had this one english teacher, when we were in our poetry unit studying...poetry, if you didn't get the exact same interpretation she did, you would lose marks. Alot of marks. Maybe we should get rid of all the english teachers. he...he...he. No offense...

Sasha said...

You wrote: "I hate that with poetry, we are expected to read into it all. In a story, themes are there, and I can see them, or infer them, but nobody expects me to make up basic facts relevant to the story."
Well, if you read most poetry AS narrative, you'll surely be missing out. Poetry requires a different kind of attention and a different mode of reading than is required by text-book reading or fiction reading. Truly amazing poetry (look up William Carlos Williams, NourbeSe Philip, E. Bishop) is like a treasure box: it's packed with goodies that you can take your time to admire. When you come to a poem, reading it is not about "mind-reading" or "guessing" what the meaning is. Rather, it's about YOU making meaning (in most any way you want) from the poet's words. A good poet neither forces meaning on you, nor leaves you stranded and confused. A good poet helps you along and hopefully nudges you toward some (big or small, but always intriguing) discovery.You stated that "with poetry, you’re given basically nothing, and you’re expected to identify facts that you would have absolutely no way of knowing." I would argue that in a good poem, it's quite the opposite. The *good* poet gives you everything you need, right there on the page; s/he doesn't expect you to go outside of the poem to make any extrapolations. If you work with what the poet has given you, there's a lot to be found. And the fun part is in the process of finding it.

You seem awfully hostile toward poetry and people who enjoy it. Perhaps you hostility stems from your discomfort with poetry? Yes, poetry may make you feel uncomfortable -- because it doesn't give you the "answer" right away. But that right there is the incredible thing about poetry! It takes you out of your comfort zone; it challenges you in ways that straightforward literature will never begin to challenge you.

You also said: "Even if it’s a love poem to someone, it’s still a poem for you, because the whole point is that you want to express something that you feel you can‘t express (or which you choose not to express) in a direct method." Please realize that not all poetry is about self expression. Check out the poetics statements and the poetry of the Language Poets -- they will show you just how serious poetry can be!

I'm so sad that the majority of young people (or all people?) feel this way about poetry. My my my, how our public schools are failing us!

Sasha said...

Regarding the others who have commented here...
-renkath and Alan Lindsay: I agree with you both.
-To the person who said that poetry is inefficient... actually, most *good* poetry is actually quite efficient! It can say volumes in four lines.


PS: Emily, I just looked at your profile and I see that you are a graduate of the University of Utah. Wow. Please don't get offended, but now I am even more shocked for the following reasons:
1) I thought this post was written by a high school student because the views about poetry are so narrow and immature that I couldn't fathom a university graduate could think this way.
2) I ALSO go to the U and I am appalled that a fellow student would make the quality of education at the U look *SO BAD* by posting such ignorance about poetry online. Of course you are entitled to your own opinions about poetry, but to speak with such "authority" on a topic that you seem to know so little about is a bit disturbing.

3) Did you ever actually take any *poetry* classes at the U? Believe it or not the U has one of the most recognized English departments in the country. The faculty members there are among some of the most innovative and widely-published in the US and the poetry being written there (by grad students in the poetics program and by professors) is top-notch. If you did take a poetry class at the U, judging by what you've written here, I find it hard to believe that you took it seriously. Either that or you somehow had the misfortune of being registered for a class taught by one of the (few) substandard professors in the U's English department.

You'll probably delete this, but I hope you don't because I am also entitled to my opinions.

Emily said...

Sasha - I'm not deleting your comment, but I wrote this post almost 3 years ago. Some of my opinions have changed since then. I graduated from the U's English program, and I had several excellent professors. I tried my very best to avoid classes about poetry, but the times that it came up I managed to enjoy it a little.

Anonymous said...

My God, can't you lot get over yourselves. A lot of the master works evolved in an opium den, a bottle of plonk or two, do you think you understand the emotion of all this, you can discuss all kinds of art forms to death but does anyone fully understand the intent of the writer, painter or whatever. Just accept what is, be true to yourself and you will find something original.

harmonious1 said...

I found your post by googling "I hate poetry" just to see if anyone else felt like I do. I hate poetry.

Cygnus said...

Poetry is an excellent way to take a statement and make it harder to understand. For example, i could say "You are Beautiful, and i love you." The simple poignancy of that statement would be far more effective than to say, "O! How i adore thee...shall i compare thee to a summer's day..."

The worst part is that they expect you to write 5 page essays on this crap. Practically the point of poetry is to take a simple statement and make it longer, so how are we expected to write even MORE about what they've already written more about?

I could write most of my essays on poetry in about a paragraph or less.

Discussing poetry is like contemplating our navels. It might be really entertaining, but it is NEVER going to get you any further than the poet got. Therefore, its useless, therefore, we shouldn't be studying it. If we studied poetry less, i would be less insane right now.

Anonymous said...

sad but true...99.9 % of poems are badly written !!!

Anonymous said...

i hate poetry

pj said...

I wonder why people who like poetry so much think it's important for other people to like it. I hate it too. If you want to say something to me, get to the point. I don't need to try and guess what someone is saying with their nonsenical meanderings through the dictionary. It's like rap, who cares? That's just my opinion and I would not try to talk anyone out of their love of poetry.

Rena said...

Here here!!!!
I hate poetry, except for jabberwocky. It's either extremely optimistic or depressing. Not only do I have to analyze poetry, I have to write a poem! No free verse allowed! I think I might show this to my teacher to show her I'm not the only one who feels this way...thanks for your argument. I could only come up with "I hate it" for the longest time. Go ahead and write poetry if you want to, but I don't want to join you or anazlye what you wrote. That said, I would like to become an author one day and I love writing, just not poetry.

Lorraine Banfield said...

I hate poetry too - I rarely know what the author is trying to say and I hate the gussing game that comes with it. I was in a writing group wiht a bunch of poets and when they would read their poems I always wanted to ask them what the heck they were trying to say, but I felf this would offend them and so I kept quiet. BTW, I used to teach college level English Comp and would elminate the poetry section or make changes in class so that we never got to it and the administration was never the wiser and no student ever complained. Good luck with your classes, I think you're on the right track on how to handle it.

Lorraine Banfield said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
The Mantra Of Devi said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

I totally agree. Poems may be interesting and fun once in a while but I think english classes tend to overuse them WAY too much.

Anonymous said...

Future English Teacher said...
I am pretty sure that half of you love music, it makes you feel so much different feelings there is lyrics for every day, season, time, mood, etc. Some of you will die if music didn't exist. I believe, if you like music, you like poetry. Poetry doesn't have to be this dreadful thing that kills your grade or have no relevance to your life. I do understand that there are lots of teachers that kill your possible love for poetry at a very early point. But poetry is amazing, and there are different types of fun poetry, like music lyrics, slam poetry etc. Poems don't always have to be about dead people that wrote poems you can't understand. I before hated poetry because it was just so annoying to try to find a meaning and at the the end it wasn't the meaning the teacher wanted. I was very lucky to have teachers in college that help me see poetry with new eyes. Some difficult poetry can be good to try to find meaning, it can help you with the real world. Yes you wont be asked to recite a poem at your job, but i am sure you will have hard situations to deal with, and the way you handle that is pretty much the same way you analyze a poem. Think about it, you read the poem (look at the problem), give it your own meaning (what side are you on) find sources that help you analyze poetry to see if you are in the right track (find sources that can help or advice you about a possible solution) and learn about the message the poem has (learn from the problem after solving it). While you would not be asked to recite a poem at work you will use pretty similar techniques in real life. Hope this helps!!! Remember, find a poem you like!! This might be the greatest reason you hate poetry because you been introduced to poems that are boring and not your type!!

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

A friend wrote a book of poems... self published and sent to everyone. Great. Good for him. He accomplished something he really wanted to do. That impresses me, however, he is hounding me for my opinion about the poems... and I am stuck and feel awkward and uncomfortable and know I will say the wrong thing. TOO MUCH INFO is one aspect; too purposely "layered" and nuanced for me to "get it" (I didn't know your ex-wife, so a zillion of the poems don't mean much to me as I cannot relate to who you are writing about. So much poetry is trying to be cleverer than thou and deep and I just feel if you have to say something, just SAY IT. Clearly. Or if poetry turns you on, don't assume other people feel the same way and if MONTHS have gone by without some sort of analysis of your work, assume the reader really does not want to discuss. EVER.

Anonymous said...

Poetry is for those who can't write music. No other "art form" has ruined another form of art in such the way that poetry has ruined music.

Today, it's all about the lyrics... Which are just poetry.

All these idiots want is background noise so that their stupid words can be heard.

Real artists are painters and musicians... Not poets.

Anonymous said...

So, by saying this it means you spend a lot of your free time reading poems and have come to the conclusion you can't understand them. If you read the lots of poetry, it's pretty understandable. And even the poets that are obscure like Ashbery and T.S. Eliot have an emotional effect with their Imagism. Youre just not exposed to enough poems. Also, the way we teach poetry in America is wrong. Instead of finding meaning, we should ask ourselves how a poem works or the images that are working in them. Don't blame poetry, blame your lack of effort.

Walkup6@hotmail.com said...

I fell down the internet rabbit hole and found this older blahg entry as I was googling poetry info for my book club tomorrow. We are reviewing a poetry book by Marie Howe, "What the Living Do". It's about as entertaining as it sounds. Thanks so much for the comic relief! I forwarded your entry + several comments to my book club. Hoping I don't have to find a new book club after tomorrow.
-autumn

Anonymous said...

I wish I had time to contemplate poetry.

Wait....if I had time to contemplate poetry, I'd probably want to do something else worthwhile with that time.

Nevermind.

Anonymous said...

Found your blog after watching a documentary on Leonard Cohen (which was wonderful until he started reading his poetry) - when he did this I actually said out loud "I Hate Poetry" and turned off the program. I eventually went to the internet to see if anybody else shared my aversion and found your post. Great observations on your part-even tho it brought back bitter memories of having to sit thru this carp in high school. I will get back to the Cohen program as I really love his songs. Poetry set to music you say? Perhaps - so maybe it's better if you can dance to it.

Anonymous said...

I like reading poetry. It's OK. Not great, just OK.

But...

I really, really hate HEARING poetry.

Please never "lay down" any "spoken word" in my presence.

I think the ultimate torture would be having to be forced to go to a poetry slam and spend 4 hours or so having to hear really OK poetry being "laid down" by really bad speakers. And usually there is no alcohol served, just coffee, which is even worse.

Anonymous said...

Poetry is about experiencing it with your senses. You can glean a lot by actually just reading what the words are...even supposedly 'difficult' poets like TS Eliot. Don't insult poetry because you haven't read enough of it to comprehend it. Honestly, once my reading comprehension skyrocketed, poetry is easy. You're just ignorant. It can be fixed by reading more books.

NieveP said...

It seems to me that your dislike is for the way we study poetry and not for poetry itself. No poet sits down and says "I'm going to write something now so the readers will have to decipher it and figure out what I mean." A poet wants you to read the poem and feel what you feel. Unfortunately, the way poetry is taught in schools puts an emphasis on dissecting the poem for technique etc. We are expected to uncover what the poet "means". This was never the poets intention. Somehow, the teaching of poetry seems to take all the joy out of reading it.

Anonymous said...

poetry isn't really about "guess what i'm thinking" more so than an expression that you perceive in your own way when reading.

you don't have to like it.
not everything will resonate with you.

but personally my favorite bit about poems is that in a certain way they're all stories expressed differently.

and if you have to read it, enjoy what you can out of it, no point in bullshitting when you can learn something new perspective wise.

good luck :D

Anonymous said...

Looks like you've been forced to study bad poetry :|
I wouldnt discount the entire medium, however. When you find the right poem, you dont have to pour over it for hours, you may just identify with it or draw your own meaning from it. The idea is that good poetry is an transcendental experience, not a biography.

Anonymous said...

If you don't like poetry, that's fine. That's you and your opinion.

But you don't have to dedicate an entire blog to how much you hate it. It's rude and quite frankly, disrespectful.

Poetry is for the person who writes it. It's therapeutic. It's not for other people's opinions and criticism. Other people celebrate it because they can understand it and relate to it. Maybe you've never been through an experience that was so traumatic that you didn't know how to express it but through poetry. So good for you but next time, keep it to yourself.

Emily said...

To Anonymous who just commented (7/25/2013):

I wanted to thank you for your comment, because it made me laugh! I have been under a lot of stress lately, so I appreciate when something lightens my mood a little! :)

This whole blog is not dedicated to hating poetry--only one post is. AND, it is a post that is over FIVE years old! I agree wholeheartedly that poetry is for the person who writes it. My opinion has changed somewhat since I originally wrote this post. Throughout my college experience, I did discover a few pieces of poetry that became somewhat meaningful to me. I also discovered a few poets who had some very clever pieces that I found amusing for their mastery of language.

I'm sorry that you find my personal feelings written on my own personal blog to be disrespectful. It sounds like you must have had a traumatic experience, and that writing poetry was the only thing to bring you relief. I am sorry that you experienced something awful, and happy that you found something that helped you through it. That I am not enamored with poetry doesn't mean I haven't been through hard things--it just means I deal with hard things in different ways than you do.

But, I am very curious...if poetry means so much to you, why did you come looking for my old blog post to begin with? You didn't have to read it. And maybe you didn't actually read it anyway, because then you would understand that I was mostly frustrated with how my classes approached studying poetry.

Anyhow, thanks again for the comment. Comments on very old posts are always interesting, but this one was particularly amusing to me. I hope your day only goes up from here. :)

Anonymous said...

I hop one day you'll read a real poem and not all that postmodernistic crap and realize how great real poetry is. The problem is that most people mistake pathetic mainstream verses for real poetry. Poetry is a craft like nothing else. And one most don't know how to perform exceptionally well. But you have the capability of understanding and loving poetry if you ever come across a true one.

Sandy Medina said...

I'm sorry you hate poetry because the fact that you are stating a concrete opinion makes you a highly gifted poet... :)the world is a hurricane of opinions, no wonder you used the word "hate"... passionate......

Anonymous said...

I like your blog entry. I'll chime in and say that I think a great deal of poets believe that ambiguity = profundity. In other words, if it isn't clear what the mean is, the meaning must be really deep. So many poets are completely self absorbed, and it makes sense that their poems reflect that and thus leave the reader in the dark. The poetry world idolizes poets, too, and it's super inbred: poets give their friends awards, jobs, and even book contracts. Yuk!

Anonymous said...

I couldn't agree more! Good on you for saying what many of us think quietly to ourselves. Not liking poetry in some circles is akin to loudly declaring oneself an atheist in the middle of the church social.

I enjoy amphigouri, nursery rhymes, and poems explicitly intended to involve and entertain the reader; and there ends my tolerance for the form.

cash said...

i hate poets and the poetry they write
carrying on about life and love and romance in the night
i hate poets and their long curly hair
their funny little shoes and the short pants that they wear
i hate reading their drivel 5000 times
just to find the hidden message stuffed in between the lines
so i will read or write no poetry and i will read or write no prose
because as for an intellect or poet i'm neither one of those
for i like my women rough and rowdy and my beer dark and stout
and when i see a poet i knock the bastard out!

Heather said...

I found this post after studying poems all week in my english class and finding I'm dying a slow death. Thank you for articulating exactly how I'm feeling about poetry today.

Anonymous said...

These are my exact thoughts! I just nt explain to people why I dislike poems and these words are perfect!

mellie said...

Great post; my sentiments about poetry exactly, and always have been. BTW, I hate poetry.

mellie said...

Cash, that was great! Thank you.

Anonymous said...

I say that one must be a seer, make oneself a seer. The poet makes himself a seer by a long, prodigious, and rational disordering of all the senses. Every form of love, of suffering, of madness; he searches himself, he consumes all the poisons in him, and keeps only their quintessences. This is an unspeakable torture during which he needs all his faith and superhuman strength, and during which he becomes the great patient, the great criminal, the great accursed – and the great learned one! – among men. – For he arrives at the unknown! Because he has cultivated his own soul – which was rich to begin with – more than any other man! He reaches the unknown; and even if, crazed, he ends up by losing the understanding of his visions, at least he has seen them!

-Arthur Rimbaud

Anonymous said...

People who are simple minded and lazy tend to stay that way. A poets only fault is that he or she tried to raise his or her fellow humans to a higher level. To help them stretch their own wings and to fly above their own mediocrity.

Phillip

Anonymous said...

Even wine and beer is found apprehensible and bitter, when tasted by a small child.

Phillip

Anonymous said...

P o e t r y poetry= pretentious, obscure,
r b g e e a egomaniacal, tedious, regurgitated
e s o d g p yapping
t c m i u p
e u a o r i
n r n u i n
t e i s t g
i a a
o c t
u a e
s l d

Anonymous said...

Oops it wasn't supposed to look like that,
anyway, poetry is
pretentious
obscure
egomaniacal
tedious
regurgitated
yapping

that is the poetry acronym, but no big words poetry SUCKS

Nat said...

I'm so glad I'm not the only one who thinks this ... and I'm an English teacher (please don't murder me, pro-poetry people). Now, of course, there are many exceptions to this (T. S. Eliot, Pound, Poe is delightful too) but the whole analysis shouldn't be dependent on the reader's perception--the text should be providing the reader with something solid and clear _as well as_ beautiful and complex. No one likes ambiguity for ambiguity's sake.

Anonymous said...

I don't disagree with this entry, however some of the comments here are completely retarded. As i see it she's mostly complaining about a formalized way of studying poetry, instead of actually enjoying it whilst giving it a personal meaning depending of your own subjectivity; with that complaint, i definately agree. Now, does that mean that poetry itself is useless? Nope, poetry is the transmission of thought, ideals, sensations and imagery; if you think it's pretentious, good for you, if you think it's boring, it's okay. We don't necessarily have to agree in our literary or artistic tastes, but you can't attempt to ridiculize something simply because you don't get it.

Marc said...

I've always been bothered by the fact that many of us are told to stay in school (both in the context of not dropping out of high school and also going on to get a college degree) on the basis that our economic outlook will be in jeopardy if we do not. Yet those in charge of our esteemed institutions of learning seem at their core to be deeply offended that we are showing up to school solely to receive that essential set of tools that will give us the edge we need in order to earn a living.
Their ultimate revenge upon us is to subject us, during a huge percentage of instruction time, to an endless barrage of art, music, and literature. We spend time seeing, hearing, and reading it. Then we are told to break it down and put it back together again while analyzing what, why, and how it is; then to write an essay defending it's value, importance, and significance; then we are made to duplicate, play, perform, speak and sing it. After this we are expected to produce, compose, and write our own creative material.
Yet after all of this we find ourselves finally in a job and discovering that none of this BS is applicable to the work at hand. In our professional training we are un-taught many of the superfluous arts and habits that were so dearly imparted into us. We learn that fast, clean, clear and concise print is the desired way to write messages; not the cursive we struggle years to master. We learn that setting the scene, developing the characters, and adding suspense to a business memo will get us at best one warning to knock it off. When we try to find opportunities to express ourselves with visual art or music, we are told that it handled by another department of trained professionals.
The argument behind all this artsy education then becomes "to enrich our lives". No doubt some are enriched by this. But the way art, music, and especially literature is presented in school tends to result with the exact opposite effect. We learn to dread it, and many of us, after school is done with, avoid venturing back to those classic works.
The material is rarely something a typical, modern individual finds naturally appealing, especially given the influence of contemporary, popular culture. Popular culture is dismissed for study on the basis that everybody is getting too much exposure to it already. Yet there is a substantial minority that struggles to connect with mainstream culture and society. Many argue that schools impart social skills, but really it is only in the way that throwing kids in a pool teaches swimming to the ones that didn't drown.
At the end of the day after learning so much about the made up fantasy world of fiction, poetry, art and music, we are left with false impressions. We are left feeling inadequate when we truly examine ourselves and find that we take little or no joy in the subject matter we are presented or the way it is presented (in it's mandatory context). When we perceive that we are the only ones in the room that don't "get it" we question if there is something wrong with us.
We are told that we have been successfully taught the essential skill of self-expression (the value of which I consider significantly overvalued, unless it is for the purpose of coping with mental illness), but performing to the letter someone else's "great work" or completing our own creative work within the precisely defined restraints of a graded assignment is in fact the suppression or manipulation of our self, not our self's expression.

Marc said...

Continued...
Perhaps the worst let down is to actually, enthusiastically take this artsy education all in and believe that to make our lives worth living we need to read one book a week, attend a poetry reading once a month, go to a concert or play every payday, pause our DVDs so we can take notes, spend hours frequently touring museums and galleries, practice our favorite instrument, play in a band on weekends, and paint our own wall art. Some people can make this work, but the rest of us have jobs and families. Working, staying late, commuting, taking work home, cooking, cleaning, waking up to change the baby, etc. might leave just enough time and energy to watch half a movie with one eye open or post a delirious rant on Blogger.

What if we cut back all the mandatory artsy education and make most of it optional? Keep "cultural literacy" mandatory, as this does have a tremendous impact on how we do need to interact with the real world of business and personal affairs. But make more time for students to pursue their own passions, even if they are not high-culture, high-brow, elite, intellectual, academic, fine arts or even art at all (hello, robotics anyone?). You can take almost anyone's individual passions and personal interests and coach and mentor them. You can have them research topics related to their chosen passion(s). You can have them write about it, debate it with others, present their experiences to a group, put them in contact with living pioneers and leaders, have them teach it to others, have them perform and record it. Point is, let people develop into their own person with their own interests while allowing that experience to be conduit for their greater education (reading, writing, presenting, debating, etc.). Odds are once they are out of school and have a job and kids they won't have time to begin that journey on their own.

Anonymous said...

Anyone agreeing with this old post should immediately buy Neil Astley's "Staying Alive: Real Poems for Unreal Times," an excellent poetry anthology. Lots of smart, beautiful, and accessible poems there, all organized by theme and subject matter. I can't guarantee you'll like all of it, but I think you will get an authentic picture of modern poetry, not the one that tends to be taught in university courses. If you still hate poetry, so be it. Some hate jazz or classical music or hip-hop or visual art or whatever. At least you will have made an informed judgment.

Killua Zoldyck said...

I really get what you are saying there. Honestly, I have a burning hatred for that subject whenever I do it at school.

Creative writing? Fun when we actually have a chance to be creative. Literature? Not bad depending on what we end up reading (which isn't the case because usually we end up doing something around the lines of 'GrassWatcher: The novel.' Metaphorically of course) But poetry? HELL TO THE NO!

My every reason is pretty much what you said there, and IMO the best thing to do during poetry is to just make it all up as you go along. It is all subjective after all! I'm sure the teacher won't mind me referring aliens from this poem about sun! Kidding, but you get the idea.

Mainly though that was me being poetic about it. I mainly just spend my entire time telling myself how much I don't care...

IƱaki Araquistain said...

I agree so much with you. I am a literature student, and even so, I HATE poetry and am not ashamed to say it. Yes, I had noticed that: It's a game of "what am I thinking". Dear, I'll write my essay about this and cite your blog.

Elizabeth said...

If your main goal in reading poetry is to identify themes, then you're right - there is no reason to read poetry.

xceptional43 said...

I don't hate poetry neither do I love it the way you should love a thing.
I love words, and words put together always intrigue me. But like I said, I sometimes find poetry abstract. Prose and essays are easy to interprete, but poetry is like a painting of some abstract mythical creature. Sometimes even the writer doesn't understand fully what it means. But all the same, I love poetry, it has helped shaped my writing.
I will advice you embrace it and learn as much as you can, it will surely reflect in how you write and there is nothing as beautiful as as well written prose with intriguing choice of words, plastered with brevity and straight to the point. That's what poetry does to those of us who prefer longer combination of words.

albert speer said...

spot on.alot of people in writing or poetry are druggie.idiots .pretentious assholes with no talent. so they get into photography or "POETRY" pick up a spray can.or a brush or water colors and let see how talented are You.

albert speer said...

spot on.alot of people in writing or poetry are druggie.idiots .pretentious assholes with no talent. so they get into photography or "POETRY" pick up a spray can.or a brush or water colors and let see how talented are You.

albert speer said...

spot on.alot of people in writing or poetry are druggie.idiots .pretentious assholes with no talent. so they get into photography or "POETRY" pick up a spray can.or a brush or water colors and let see how talented are You.

albert speer said...

spot on.alot of people in writing or poetry are druggie.idiots .pretentious assholes with no talent. so they get into photography or "POETRY" pick up a spray can.or a brush or water colors and let see how talented are You.

Jason Lindbeck said...

I wrote a poem about this:

Poetry is the ultimate in vanity
An exercise in self-aggrandizing insanity
These words that I write have less meaning
Than the thread on a loom set for weaving
What spews forth from my pen is profanity!

The lack of punctuation means I feel rushed. My use of limerick styled prose means I take a flippant and sarcastic view of most things. The mixture of verbage means... um... that I had a beef and cheese quesadilla for lunch today? I wrote the damn poem and cant even interpret it, because poetry's only real purpose is to show other people how "deep" you are!

Matthew Wiseman said...

Your post contains a number of grammatical errors.

Noxaura Cille said...

How's this?

This post is sad and embarrassing. It really is. I'm disappointed I share a planet with you. You're completely missing the point of poetry. It's supposed to be subjective, Einstein. It's art. Eye of the beholder and all.

Oh, and I'm not just a poet. I'm also a writer and lyricist. So I'm not just some butthurt poet.

Noxaura Cille said...

Alright, sorry for coming off like I was some rude asshat.

I apologize.