March 29, 2014

a poem is a city filled with streets and sewers // in defense of poetry!

^Library is a reader's best friend.

I love poetry! I always have. As a child I was fascinated with rhymes. As I grew up, I got really into those angsty preteen poems that you could find from the magazines. I was a well read poetry enthusiast by the time I reached puberty. I delved into the works of Sylvia Plath and E. E. Cummings. I had a dozen note books filled with my favorite poetry, and a few filled with my own.

But I always kind of felt ashamed of my poetry enthusiasm. I didn't really read poetry in public for the fear of seeming pretentious. I hardly ever mentioned to people that I wrote my own poetry. When people declared poetry as something stupid and juvenile I would just grind my teeth and try to act nonchalant. Although such statements made me furious and I would defend poetry quietly inside my head.

^books from personal collection and borrowed from a friend

^currently reading: Selected Unpublished Blog Posts of a Mexican Panda Express Employee by Megan Boyle

Why did I feel this way? Maybe I didn't want to be seen as the cliché teenage girl writing crappy poetry and drowning herself in other poet's angst. But poetry is not juvenile or stupid. I could go into extensive feminist rant about poetry and teenage female poets and all that, but that would be a completely different post than what I set out to write (maybe I will do that rant at some point though). But I feel like being a girl had much to do with my shame. Maybe I felt like my feelings weren't valid, that the voices of the female poets I read weren't for me or that I wasn't allowed to relate to the big, important words of the male poets.

Still, here’s my long due declaration: I love poetry!

I love it because I love language. I think poetry is the purest form of magic we have. A one phrase, sometimes just one word, can make my insides turn over. Poetry makes me feel emotions I didn't even know existed.

^marking favorites in Rise of the Trust Fall by Mindy Nettifee 

^Mrs. Dahmer, a favorite from The Bones Below by Sierra DeMulder

We, humans, are not as individual as we like to think. Much of what we go through in life, the emotions we believe to be deeply personal, are actually very universal. But it’s incredibly hard to explain a feeling. We use sayings like a broken heart and feeling blue to describe how we feel to make those sentiments more clear to one and other. What poetry does so well is that it describes the universal human experiences that we think to be unique and personal to ourselves. Poetry connects us in a way that prose simply isn’t able to. I’m not saying that other forms of literature don’t move us or touch us in the same way, but rather that we relate to fiction through the characters and their experiences. In poetry we don’t always know the characters or the narrators but we relate to the words through our universal emotions.

I read for the reasons I believe we all read. We want to feel that we are not alone, that we are connected. We read so that we can feel that we belong to this world and that our thoughts and feelings are not strange or alienating. Poetry makes me feel less alone. I can relate to someone else’s emotions like they are my own. It’s the closest one can get to someone else’s mind, to being inside someone’s thoughts and feelings. It makes the world smaller. It’s magic.

April is the National Poetry month in The United State, Canada and all over the internet.
For all things poetry, check out the Poetry Foundation.
For spoken word poetry performances, watch some of Button Poetry’s amazing videos.

Books seen on the photographs (and highly recommended!):
Howl and Other Poems by Allen Ginsberg
Just Give Me a Cool Drink of Water ‘Fore I Diie by Maya Angelou
Across the Land and Water by W. G. Sebald
Ariel by Sylvia Plath
Selected Poems by Walt Whitman
The Days Run Away Like Wild Horses Over The Hills by Charles Bukowski
Selected Unpublished Blog Posts of a Mexican Panda Express Employee by Megan Boyle
The Bones Below by Sierra DeMulder
Rise of the Trust Fall by Mindy Nettifee


Post a Comment

your comments feed my blog, so thanks for the supper! :>