Poetry seems to be one of those things that people either love or hate. I am one of those people who can’t get enough of poetry. I started writing poems as soon as I learned how (about the age of five or six), and I started writing poetry as a hobby at age fourteen. Having almost ten years’ worth of experience in writing poetry, I have encountered a vast array of opinions on poetry. Most opinions against poetry can usually be traced to the way that poetry was introduced to them. I remember in high school, I could not stand Robert Frost. In college, I couldn’t stand William Wordsworth. If I had been introduced to both of those poets earlier, I would not have had the relationship with poetry that I do now.
Poetry is tricky. It is tricky because it is as varied as humanity. While some are more skilled at poetry, each poem is valid in the emotions it portrays. Sometimes, this trickiness becomes the face of the gamut of poetry, and people turn away from poetry because of it. Poetry has the reputation of being many things:
And poems can be these things! I have seen multitudes of poem that fit into all of these categories. But each poem serves some purpose, whether or not the readers can see it.
Just a few examples of why I love poetry:
- Each poem is a snippet of the human condition. Every emotion has been portrayed in at least one poem throughout history. Even if it comes across as too abstract, there is a concrete message hiding somewhere in there.
- Poetry can be written anywhere. With a notebook in my hand, I can write poems on a commute, on a plane, and even in the office.
- Poetry can be found anywhere. My favorite example of this is blackout poetry; simply erasing words from a newspaper article can unearth hidden poems.
- Poetry is flexible. Poems can be in any language and rhyme scheme, crafted in a way that uses an unlimited amount of literary tactics.
- Poetry is therapeutic. I first seriously looked to poetry when I was fourteen to cope with moving from Massachusetts to Florida. It’s how I learned the symbolism behind my then-hatred of palm trees. Was this poetry ridden with angst? Yes. Did it teach me how to adapt to my new surroundings? Of course.
- Poetry is timeless. Emotions and meanings are universal within the human condition; a poem written two hundred years ago can still find some kind of contemporary relevance.
Writing poetry has helped me in the areas of reading, writing, and critical thinking. I attribute poetry to the reason why I always scored higher in these areas in standardized testing. I have written and write poems everywhere; after tests when I was a student, on receipt paper when I was a cashier, and at my desk. I explored worldly themes with poetry, and I will forever be thankful for the person I became because of it. I am a believer that anyone can use poetry for their own experiences.