Home Opinions It is okay to be a writer and not enjoy poetry

It is okay to be a writer and not enjoy poetry

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I hate poetry. Okay, maybe “hate” is too strong of a word.

But, I strongly dislike whenever the teacher of my beloved English class announces that the next unit will be poetry. Although I adore the study of English, I have quite a lot of animosity for poetry. I groan when poems, along with several in-depth reflection questions, are assigned for homework. I would rather write an essay of protest rather than analysis when a poem appeared on the writing section of the AP English test. There is nothing worse – well, besides chemistry –  than attempting to find the hidden meaning behind a poem. 

While teaching poetic theme, an English teacher once told my class that some poems could be called “plum” poems, meaning that there was not a deeper lesson or extended metaphor in the piece. In other words, “a plum is simply a plum.” To me, almost every poem is a plum poem. But, alas, an ocean can never simply be a large body of water, for it must be a metaphor for everlasting life and eternity. God save us all if the sun is just a giant star in the center of the solar system and not a symbol of hope and love.

In my opinion, the worst part of poetry is writing it. Now, I’ve never minded turning in an essay, whether it be a creative personal narrative, an academic essay, a research paper or a reflection on the theme of a book. Turning in a poem I spent hours writing the night before, however, is terrifying beyond belief. As I sit down to attempt to create brilliant wordplay, my blank Microsoft Word document and I go on a slight adventure. It starts with the white screen taunting me, “Don’t forget to find a hidden message! And remember your English teacher is a stickler for heartfelt, moving work. Good luck! Maybe you’ll go to sleep before 1 a.m. this time!” Finally, after hours of despair, I give up and print the sad few couplets I slapped together. Oh, the agony knowing someone would read and grade my pathetic attempt at producing excellent, thought provoking poetry! Oh, such terror!

I’ll never really understand how great poets take something simple and create magic with their pen. I will never comprehend how they are able to combine metaphors, rhyme schemes and personification and finish with the perfect end result. It is because of this that I have massive respect for poets. Truly, poets are pure artistic geniuses. I may not enjoy poetry, but I have learned that poets and poetry deserve the public’s utmost respect and appreciation. What they do is beyond difficult, yet they do so with grace and ease.

Maybe one day, I’ll learn to love poetry. But for now, I’ll stick to being a writer with a strong disliking towards poetry.

Katie Anderson ’20 (anders43@stolaf.edu) is from St. Paul, Minn. She majors in English and music.