As someone who considers themselves a writer, I find it very disarming to hear confused, or even negative reactions when I say that I enjoy writing poetry. Poetry has been given a bad reputation, especially in more recent years, and people are forgetting what poetry really is. I'm sure every one of you was forced to do some random unit on poetry in a high school English class- writing a haiku on nature, or even an acrostic about Chemistry as teachers tried to implement interdisciplinary learning into their classroom.
This is where you first discovered poetry, and sadly, this is where you realized you hated every bit of it. Another instance that has ruined the way that poetry is perceived is Rupi Kaur and the trend of "InstaPoets." These people write three or four line poems, usually about pain or loss or love, and these poems are nothing but a shallow combination of words that sound like they should belong in poetry. As the most publicized form of poetry, this is the name we give to all poets, and this is why many people think poetry is a joke.
I'm a big believer that every expression of creativity is valid, but not all of it belongs in the limelight.
Recently, I was able to attend a poetry reading in Lexington, and it was the most inspiring event I have attended in my life. I'm not exaggerating. It opened so many doors to what poetry can be and helped me to appreciate the craft so much more than I already did. The reason so many people hate poetry or think it's not "real writing" is we are only exposed to such a shallow and overdone form. Poetry has so much potential, and it has evolved even farther than what it was for the greats like Plath, Kipling, or Hughes. I think everyone forgets that poetry is here to tell a story just as deep as a novel, but so many people don't use it to its full potential. We also forget that poetry can be about more than just heartbreak and abuse.
Some of the best poems I have read have been about the most random things. One of my favorite poems was titled "Elves" by Frank X. Walker, and it was simply about Christmas. The thing that made it so good was the use of creative language and symbolism that just made me feel things more than any Rupi Kaur poem could, and it hinted at a bigger picture that was not immediately evident. True poetry gives you something to think about that you don't always realize at first. It doesn't have to follow a set of rules, a certain format, or any one idea, but it has to be substantial. When the more broadcasted poetry stops being so two-dimensional, then people will be able to recognize what poetry is meant to be.