Monday, March 27, 2006

Putting Too Much Thought into Poetry

I have just come from an English Club meeting with a head filled with words and a heart brimming with muddled feelings. For once in our intensely bureaucratic existence, we of the English Club (gasp) read poetry.

Now, I'm not usually a poet. I prefer the flow of simple prose, maybe a research paper here and there. Poetry, however, seems to be untested ground.

Don't get me wrong; I wouldn't be a Literature major if I hadn't studied poetry. I know the difference between alliteration and apostrophe, that one tenuous word between a simile and a metaphor. I know poetry.

But... Some poetry just confuses me. I guess the best thing I can compare it to is installation art. For example, I have a hard time believing that a toilet placed in an open corner of an art museum is art, no matter what modern jargon the beret-ed art critic spews at me. I feel the same way about some poems.

Let's look at something for a second.

So, poem or not?
The poet speaks first:
"Well, clearly, this is a poem about the blankness of the human soul. Look at the font!The size of the text! The expanse of space around the single word "emptiness." It shows how the modern world sucks the humanity out of the blah blah blah..."

I say:

Some say that I'm Philistine, but I just don't buy it. It seems that the poet put more effort into the explanation than the "poem." Nu?

Because I have such strong opinions about this sort of thing, I don't know if I feel comfortable writing poetry. I know that I shouldn't worry about the reactions of others, as poetry is intensely personal and emotional, but I do.

I just need to think more about this.



  1. Nicole11:18 PM

    this was in your profile soo i couldnt resist the urge to click on a good link. i know what you mean about the poetry. there is a "poem" in my anthology that is:

    Courage runs in my family

    Now obviously, you can take that one of two ways (courage in genetically or it runs away) but i see that as a sentence...a simple statement, not a poem. im also not sure how jackson pollock's manic paint splattering is "art" either. i've often wondered about those things. but then...why is Wuthering Heights a classic?

  2. Hey, Nicole. You know how much I hate Wuthering Heights . Right up there with friggin' A Separate Peace .

    Whoa, with all of these books that I hate, do I make a good Literature major?