Poetry. I don’t get it.

This is going to be a weird, short post. Before I insult half the population of Earth, let me start by saying : I respect everyone’s opinions about the things they love/hate. I recognize not everyone shares the same opinion as me, and I’m very interested in understanding other people’s view points, even if they differ greatly from mine. So when I say the things I’m about to say about Poetry, please show me the same respect I’m giving you and understand that you don’t have to agree with me, but I hope you’ll at least respect my opinion. I’m posting this for discussion purposes, not to make anyone feel bad!

Now for the nitty gritty:  I dislike poetry, bordering on HATE. I’m not sure I can explain why, but whenever I run across a blog that posts poetry frequently, I have a tendency to un-follow them. This isn’t something new. Even when I was a teenager I never really felt the need to write poetry or read it. I had some very close friends who avidly wrote poetry, and to be honest, it made me want to run away before they started making me read it. I just… don’t get it. I understand that poetry is an art form mean to represent ideas and emotions in a stylized, almost lyrical way… but it holds absolutely no interest for me. It’s like reading the label on the back of a cereal box, minus the small useful bits of knowledge.

Now that isn’t to say that I haven’t read a poem or two that I thought was good. I was forced to read some Robert Frost in high school English, and I did enjoy one or two of his poems. However, for the most part, I just couldn’t care less. It strikes me as sort of odd because I am a very creative person. I am very much into artistic works of all kinds, and I have a great love of creative writing…. I just don’t like poetry. Is that strange? (don’t even get me started on haiku’s. I don’t even.)

I’m interested to hear other opinions on the subject. Do you like poetry? Hate it? I’d love to hear why your opinion goes either way. Also, are there any other forms of artistic creativeness that you dislike or “don’t get” outside of poetry?  Personally, I’m not a big fan of photo-manipulation. I will acknowledge it as a useful skill that does take talent to do properly… but I don’t know that I consider it a true art form. I also don’t get abstract art. I mean… really. Sure, it can be beautiful and creative… but any 5th grader with a ruler and tempera paints can probably re-create it.

Let us take a moment to complain about the art forms we don’t understand or see the appeal of, and find out what about them appeals to other people. Maybe we’ll learn something new and gain a different perspective. If you have an opinion to share, I’d love to hear about it!

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23 thoughts on “Poetry. I don’t get it.

  1. There was a time when I wrote poetry frequently, and I loved doing it. I’d probably still enjoy it if I took the time to. But I more or less gave poetry up: the material I want to create is bigger, more complex, and too detailed to be covered in just a few lines of verse. Aside from that it can be really tough to write and if you’re after something that feels ‘real’ it’s not at all the way to go. You ever read a story written entirely in lyrics? I give kudos to the writer who can put one together, and to the reader who can get through it all.

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    • haha i think i know what you mean. i usually do tend more towards the real and detailed than the more lyrical, even in styles of writing. hrm. maybe my practical mind just isn’t geared towards the type of thought needed to appreciate poetry.

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  2. I think poetry is an unforgiving art form. There are great poems and really, really, bad ones. It’s hard to find anything in the middle. Of course, if it doesn’t work for you, don’t read it. There’s plenty more to read. But if you’re interested in trying to explore it, I have a couple suggestions. First, poetry is almost always best when read aloud. Don’t cheat and read it “aloud” inside your head. Read it aloud, for real. And (sorry if this is obvious, but it wasn’t to me, for a long time), when you read it aloud, don’t assume there should be a pause at the end of every line. Ignore the line breaks and use the punctuation as a guide to the pauses.

    I think this is what makes poetry interesting to me. First, there’s the challenge of saying a lot with an economy of words (not to mention making your points without actually coming out and stating them). If you’re trying to fit a specific meter or rhyme scheme, you have to really search for the right words and phrasing, and that exercise alone can greatly improve your writing in other formats. Second, there’s the opportunity to wrap your thoughts in multiple layers of meaning. It’s okay if any given reader only gets one layer of meaning. Some readers will get other layers, and some will find layers you didn’t even intend. I like complex poetry with tendrils into other literature, (T.S. Eliot, for example), but I also respond to concise poems with exacting word choice. One of my favorites is this very short poem by William Carlos Williams, The Red Wheelbarrow: So much depends / upon / a red wheel / barrow / glazed with rain / water / beside the white / chickens. Two other favorites worth reading: Tennyson’s Ulysses and Eliot’s The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock. Each of these become more profound the older you get. At my age (57), I can hardly read them without tears.

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    • Thank you so much for sharing your insight 🙂 I’m pleasantly suprised by all the different views i’ve gotten on this article and it’s been fun to see the various thoughts behind poetry and why some people like, it and some don’t. I think it’s been a good experience for me to see all the different pov’s, and I may even (attempt) to pick up some poetry to go through and see if maybe i need to give it a second chance. Thank you for sharing ^^

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  3. I saved this post so I could take time to respond. I am not a huge fan of poetry, it almost seems like work. I love novels, so I have to “set” my mind to open. I will reread them if they peak my interest to try and get the full value. Then I read it again to just enjoy. I will read most anything, even the cereal box. Can’t help myself. My hubby doesn’t read books very often. That is probably our biggest…… can’t really think of a word. I devour books and love blogging about them, but he just can’t get it. Art? I agree with All about the squares. One man’s……..Photography? I am an avid photographer. Like my books, or Kindle, my camera travels with me everywhere. I don’t do a lot of photo manipulation, because I like what you see is what you get, even those pesky phone lines ruining that beautiful landscape photo. lol I do love to sketch trees bare of branches, but I have tried and never have been able to draw or paint very well, thus photography. I guess we all have our likes and dislikes and being able to talk about them benefits us all. That is what makes us all so interesting, our differences, otherwise we are just talking to ourselves. LOL Well, this is a rant and I don’t think I’ve ever left a message like this before, but I loved your post. Thanks!

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    • haha thanks – this post has actually become really interesting to me, i’ve gotten so many answers from a lot of different people, and it’s been really fun and sort of eye-opening to read through everyone’s replies and learn about our differences 🙂 I know what you mean when you were talking about you and your hubby being on different pages as far as books go. I’ve been there before with some other family members and it’s such a weird feeling to know that they just… don’t like books. It’s one of those things that just completely boggles my mind. I guess I always thought people who didn’t like books just didn’t like to read, but it turns out, some people genuinely don’t like books. it baffles me!

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  4. Oh my god, you’re exactly the same as me!
    I admit, when I was little I used to write some crappy poetry because I like making things rhyme, but I absolutely hate reading it. It’s just…so…I don’t know what the right word is… I think they’re either trying too hard to be beautiful and elegant to the point that it just makes me laugh, or they’re annoying and emo. That’s what most of the poems I see are like.

    Some abstract art can be really pretty, but I hate it when someone draws a couple of squares, colours them in, creates some ‘deep meaning’ for them and then passes it off as art. I don’t care if the orange squares surrounding the blue square mean something to do with the blue square fighting to be accepted with the orange squares because it’s a different colour, and the orange squares are angry because orange is an angrier colour than blue and argh.

    And Photomanipulation…it’s okay, I guess, but I can’t help but think people only do it because they’re too lazy to draw it themselves. I’ll always look up to someone who takes the time to actually draw things more than someone who just copies and pastes and edits a little bit.

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  5. I feel like there is also different kinds of poetry. I don’t like all poetry, but I like the stuff that rhymes and flows, much like a rap might. It just moves along like your eyes might travel through a painting. It doesn’t always have to be profound (a gasp of air gentle pushes me forward. The wild flowers grow more vibrant and) ya whatever. It’s just fun sometimes!

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  6. I agree with Charles. I actually didn’t like poetry very much when I was younger like in middle school. Not all poetry has to rhyme or be formed like I was taught in school. And one of the best things was my creative writing class in high school, it opened my eyes to all types of poetry that even evoked poetry out of me.

    Not to say that because I like poetry now that there aren’t certain ones that don’t float my boat. I just keep an eye out for ones that I do like from certain people. Another thing I realized was that poetry is just like music. AND I LOVE MUSIC! So how can I sing along to a song which is basically poetry set to a rhythm with instruments and then say I can’t stand poetry? Does that make sense?

    I try to be open minded when it comes to creative arts but I understand why some people are turned off by poetry. 🙂

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    • Thank you for replying! haha I think if poetry actually had musical accompaniment to it, I’d like it better. Maybe I’ll make a point of giving a few pieces a read here and there to see if there is some I might like ^^

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  7. I don’t like novels. I hate/avoid fiction the way some people do television. I’m not a big fan of ‘story.’ I love poetry but I do understand why someone would dislike it. Experimental poetry really pushes the limits of sensibility and as such can be a true annoyance to many readers.

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    • Wow novels, that’s a vast category! That’s always been one of the things I don’t, but want to understand. I know a lot of people that don’t read, and I love books so much personally, that I find it hard to understand why some people don’t. Do you think there’s a particular reason why you aren’t a fan of novels, or is it just one of those things that just doesn’t appeal to you? (And thank you for commenting!)

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      • I don’t like traditional storytelling. I’m not a fan writing which requires a secret to be revealed or an adversity to be overcome. I’m not a fan of lots of details/description. I don’t need a picture to be painted. As such, I do like Proust and Beckett’s work. I also like Salinger and Douglas Coupland but for the most part I steer away from simple language and plotlines built around the idea of character development via a series of experiences. I’m into experimental narratives i.e. Scalapino, Etienne, Notley and other writers of long poems/poetic series. I don’t dislike novels due to length but due to a disagreement in style and theory.

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        • Hm, that’s really interesting! You share such a vastly different viewpoint from mine that I’ve never really considered.. thank you for commenting and sharing it with me. I’ll have to look up some of those writers ^^

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  8. I wrote poetry as a secondary art form because I find it a quick release of creativity when I’m feeling emotional and dull. I get edgy and irritable if I don’t writing something every few days, so I took to poetry to help that problem. Do I like all types of poetry? Not really. In fact, I like writing it more than reading it because I rarely know what to say. It’s only recently that I’ve gotten into reading poetry through blogging.

    As for not liking poetry, I know a lot of people who flat out despise it for some reason. They can never explain why, but there is one thing that seems to always come up in the reasoning. Forced to read poetry in school might be the reason a lot of people don’t like it. You’re made to analyze and copy strict styles when poetry is taught in school, which makes it feel very structured when it doesn’t have to be. This isn’t a core reason, but it’s the thing that I hear the most.

    Truth is that it comes down to different strokes for different folks.

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    • Hrm. you may be on to something. My dislike of it may stem from highschool. It’s one of those things that I guess some people just don’t get.. and when you’re forced to do it at a young age, it becomes more of a chore than a creative outlet. Maybe that taints some people’s feelings towards it. Thanks for commenting Charles :3

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