I don’t like poetry.
Before I’m hissed out of existence by slam-poets and arts students, know that I’m going to make an effort to undo my evil ways. I won’t defend my position on poetry, because I’m pretty sure it’s not a healthy one, but I will explain it.
Poetry isn’t awful. It hasn’t called me names or broken up with me on my birthday. It has always seemed, flakey. It seems like the pretentious little brother of fiction who is kind of a rebel, but mostly lazy. He probably doesn’t cut his hair, smells like patchouli, and has changed his name to something awful, which if your older brother is “fiction” needs to be painfully normal “Joe” or something. Okay this metaphor is falling apart faster than something that falls apart fast.
Anyway… I made my snap-judgement in high school when I was forced to read a small sample of poetry and then was subjected to my peers’ interpretation of the lesson. I am pretty sure that high school homework assignments aren’t the best motivator for fine art. The poems churned out in class en masse were either apathetic or schmaltzy. They had the heavy-handed lack of appeal of a clickbaity Facebook status that starts “98% of people won’t…”
I’m not saying that my classmates aren’t talented, some were or have become fabulous creative writers. I just didn’t get this impression on our forced death-march through English class. From a happy after-high school vantage point, I asked one such fabulous creative writer if she could recommend some writing courses. She gave me some recommendations for teachers to seek out, and gave me the advice that I should take a poetry course.
I will say, that while cautious, I was receptive to this advice. I have grown a lot as a person and while I won’t say that I’m a good person, I’m not a horrible one. I’m not a petulant child who won’t eat something because it looks gross. I don’t dismiss things just because I’ve been conditioned to.
I still don’t know what this means for my writing, but I promise I will remove poetry from the Do Not Read list. Additionally, if anyone has any advice for reading/writing poetry feel free to share it below in the comments!