I'm calling B.S. on people who swear they don't like poetry.
A lot of people say they don't like poetry, but I disagree with them. They think poetry died in the Renaissance, but poetry is constantly influencing us. I'm sorry if you have been forced to endure poetry lessons in school or go to a poetry-slam full of passionate performers that overwhelmed you. For those of you who identify with these experiences, it's a lot to handle and I get it. But if you're open-minded, I'm confident I can show you the beauty of poetry... and I'm pretty sure you will like what I have to say.
Bonus - I will show you some fun modern examples of poetry you might already know.
First, what is poetry?
I'm going to quote Wikipedia for a second here. Wikipedia says poetry is a form of literature that uses aesthetic and rhythmic qualities of language – such as phonaesthetics, sound symbolism, and meter – to evoke meanings in addition to, or in place of, the prosaic ostensible meaning.
Let's break down those scary looking words into something we can all understand.
Aesthetic means anything that is artistic, tasteful, graceful, elegant, exquisite, attractive, pleasing, lovely.
Meter means the rhythm of a piece of poetry. It is the basic pulse and rhythm of the words - kind of like music (more on music and poetry later).
Symbolism is like representation - it means using images and indirect suggestion to express ideas, emotions, states of mind, or qualities.
Poetry isn't so scary after all. Poetry is just describing something in artistic forms. Langston Hughes' poem "I, Too, Sing America" is about a black man finding respect in America when it has so far been denied to him. Other poems are less serious, like "The Homework Machine" by Shel Silverstein, all about a machine that's supposed to help kids finish homework (but it only spouts out the wrong answers). Poetry is most well known for being about love (anyone heard of Shakespeare? *winky face).
The next argument I hear is that "Okay, poetry itself sounds alright, but no one cool I know writes poetry today. Like, no one famous is a poet."
You are wrong. But it's not your fault, because you didn't know what poetry was - so I forgive you.
All of the following musicians could be considered poets based on their lyrics: Walk the Moon, The Script, Lana Del Ray, Taylor Swift, Shawn Mendes, Selena Gomez, Lorde, The Chainsmokers, and Thomas Rhett. These people are examples of our modern day poets, and the world loves their work because something about their words and music helps us relate to them, have fun, and reflect on our own experiences and feelings.
Think of all the songs you have listened to. How many of them painted a picture or a feeling so well that you could 1) picture it like you were there and or 2) feel an emotion in a deeper way than before? That's what poetry does to you. It draws you out of yourself. It deepens experiences.
Below are some (of the many) powerful examples of modern-day poetry:
Lana Del Ray
I've seen the world, done it all, had my cake now / diamonds, brilliant, and Bel Air now / Hot summer nights, mid-July / when you and I were forever wild / the crazy days, city lights / the way you'd play with me like a child
Took you like a shot / Thought that I could chase you with the cold evening / Let a couple years water down how I'm feeling about you
Between the bottle of wine and the look in your eyes and the Marvin Gaye / Then we danced in the dark under September stars in the pourin' rain / And I know that I can't ever tell you enough / That all I need in this life is your crazy love
His heart was a stone, but then his hands roamed / I turned him to gold and took him higher / well I'll be your day dream, I'll be your favorite things / we could be beautiful
How can you use poetry to make your life more beautiful?
You could share poetry with someone you like. If a song reminded you of someone, tell him/her why and send a link to the song. Another option is writing poetry to express yourself. You could also study poetry to figure out how to tell stories with more detail and emotion.
Whatever your view on poetry is now, thank you for being open-minded. At least now you know what poetry is so you can be a real critic of it instead of talking about something you really don't understand.
Trust Tru Kastande at unsplash.com