Give poetry a chance

Monica Clark/Opinion Editor

If you’ve paid any attention to the walls at school, you may have noticed poems posted in honor of National Poetry Month. While some could care less about poetry, poems really are the life and breadth of many people’s existence and deserve much more gratitude then they do currently.

National Poetry Month has been going on for many years now. The Academy of American Poets started it in 1996 to bring more acknowledgement and gratitude to poetry, deceased poets and still living poets that continue to create the art form. National Poetry Month is meant to bring attention to the astounding legacy of American poetry to help bring more Americans to love and enjoy poetry.

I personally love poetry. The way it moves and flows is so calming and relaxing after reading taxing books for classes. Although there are different types of poetry such as haiku, villanelle, elegy or ballads that require certain criteria, there are, however, free verse poetry: poems written however the author chooses to. Many people get turned off from writing poetry because of criteria we have to fill for school, but in reality, poetry can be as free as you want it to be. It doesn’t have to rhyme, be grammatically correct, make sense, be spelled correctly, and you don’t even have to stick to the language — make up words of your own (look at the poems of Dr. Seuss).

If you want to try out reading poetry, I have a few suggestions. Good Poems for Hard Times selected and introduced by Garrison Keillor, sounds depressing, but is actually a very good place to start off. It’s a large grouping of poems from Shakespeare and Walt Whitman to new, young and modern writers just beginning to take off their careers. An older poet, Robert Frost, is one of my personal favorites. Probably his most famous poem, “The Road Not Taken,” is one that many of us are familiar with, but all of his poems are worthwhile to read. But my absolute favorite poet is Sylvia Plath. Her poems are so real and blindingly visual that you’ll probably never forget them.

And if none of these sound remotely appealing, check out some poetry readings off of youtube. If reading poetry isn’t your forte, maybe oral poetry will better suit your taste.
I have to admit that I myself have had issues with poetry. In grade school and early junior high, I didn’t really care for it until I realized that all those childhood books I read as a child were essentially poetry. Poetry started to appear more often in my classes. I distinctly remember one science teacher reading to us “The Cremation of Sam McGee” by Robert W. Service. I was mesmerized. Soon after that I started to devour poetry by the hundreds — searching online, checking out books from the library and buying poetry anthologies from book stores. Although my regularity of reading poetry has diminished, I haven’t stopped loving the form.

I hope that you haven’t given up on poetry completely. If you want to try your hand at writing poetry, it’s as simple as putting pen to paper. Write what you feel however you want. Write just for you, or share it with someone else. It doesn’t really matter as long as you try and experience it.

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