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I am taking a poetry class this semester at university. Asking about any aspiring poets or poetry enthusiasts in the class, our professor was met with silence. Clearly, we’re not a very introspective bunch.
I’ve only ever read poetry in required lessons, as I have to do now, never choosing to pick it up on my own terms.
Reading of prose is straightforward; you get what you came for. There’s usually no need to decipher any underlying messages, or grapple with form, metre and rhyme that can sometimes make for a hard read. I personally find it infinitely more engaging.
With poetry, there’s the analytical aspect that can make reading it slightly intimidating.
As such I became curious about why someone might enjoy reading, or even writing poetry.
Quite befitting of our time, poetry aims to get across an idea with fewer words. It is its relatively short length that seems to prove appealing for some. Maybe it is poetry’s musical quality that attracts others to it?
For some, lines of poetry may provide advice or comfort, and can be quite reassuring for those who read it. Like a mantra, memorised lines of poetry can be recited in times of turmoil, uncertainty or even happiness.
And I understand that writing poetry can be quite healing for someone who might want to effectively pour out his or her feelings; there are even therapy poetry writing workshops in existence! It gives one the chance to explore emotions that would be hard to grasp otherwise.
Then again, people read and write poetry because they can.
Will I come out of this course more appreciative of poetry? Perhaps; I’ve already acquired favourites. But most importantly I have realised that with poetry, just like with any type of artistic expression, there’s bound to be something for everyone. Do our readers have a preferred poem? Please share.