Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Ode to Poetry

So far, I've focused my entries on fiction because it's what I'm most comfortable writing. But I also enjoy, and occasionally write, poetry. So, here goes:

I'll be blunt - in high school and college, I didn't "get" poetry. I tried. I struggled. I sweated. I squirmed. But I just couldn't get it. It was out of my grasp, the carrot I was always reaching for but could never quite snatch.

Fast-forward several years - the lightbulb finally turned on for me during a Modern Poetry class I took when I was 30 years old. The teacher had the key that unlocked the mystery of poetry. She explained each line in tangible terms and made it easy to understand. I finally "got" it, and I appreciated it like I had never done before. It fascinated me.

Understanding it also gave me the courage to write it. Now, I still don't consider myself a true poet, and writing poetry still doesn't come easily to me. But I find it, by far, the most raw, real, personal, and subjective form of literature available. I love its freedom, its mystery, its depth, its brevity. I appreciate it. And I'm (hopefully) a better writer for appreciating it. Because there can be poetry, even in prose. In fact, there should be. Metaphor, imagery, personification, alliteration - these devices all have a place in prose, as well.

So, what's your "relationship" with poetry? Love it or loathe it?

1 comment:

  1. Poetry has been a way for me to express deep emotions, love, or humor. I wrote poetry when my dear Dad passed away many years ago...in my attempt to deal with the sadness. It's hard to 'sell' poetry to most young people I've discovered. But when you find the 'right poem' to touch someone's heart, the love begins.