Tuesday, December 20

Puzzlement of Poetry

I do not understand
The art of poetry
Or seek to comprehend.

The words do not transcend
Proposed explanatory.
I do not understand.

The teacher does pretend
Her pupils all will see
Or seek to comprehend.

She spoils for us the end
And gazes thoughtfully.
I do not understand.

How can I recommend
An ounce of poetry
Or seek to comprehend?

The class is at an end,
A poet's mind dead to me.
I do not understand
Or seek to comprehend.

I cannot wrap my mind around poetry. I have never been able to appreciate poems after we were forced to dissect them in school. The teacher would present us with a poem, ask us what we thought it meant (I was always clueless) and then proceed to tell us every ounce of symbolism, structure and sibilance there was to find. We wrote it all down and were educated.

Imagine being audience to a magic show. It is a strange spectacle, full of oddities and flourishes and mystery. It ends and you are not quite sure what you have just witnessed. Before your mind can process much, you are pulled aside where all the magician's tricks are disassembled and you are forced to take notes. You still do not comprehend the truth of what happened on that stage but the wonderment is gone, imagination dead.

Any potential passion I had for poetry was put out in school. Poem upon poem was slapped down and studied. I hated the mechanism of it all. If you are told what to imagine, how can you ever conjure your own impression?

I always marvel at those who write poetry. To me they are like the people who are not only excellent puzzle solvers but then proceed to invent their own brain teasers and word equations to boggle and test the next puzzler.

Poetry is technical. There is some mathematics behind it all, which I am rubbish at. The poetic form that I slaughtered attempted above is a villanelle. I half-clued my way through it but I have no real knowledge of any poetic forms or their correct structures.

There is something I am crazed to know.

How did the poets of today escape the poetry killing machine that I encountered in my education?

Did you escape? What is your view of poetry? Do you have favourite poems to recite? Perhaps you dabble in the odd villanelle?

Tell me all and help fill the void of my poetic education. I seek to comprehend...a little.


Determinist said...

I was in the same boat as you about poetry until I went to see some Slam poets present.

Look for some slam poets or presentation poetry on line and you can see the awesomeness of it.

My current favourites are Shane Hawley's "Wile E. Coyote" and "Love You" - both awesome. There is tons of other fantastic poetry out there.

Since seeing Slam poets present, I've tried my hand at some composition and even presented a few times. It's great and I don't even have to be any good at it.

Myah said...

I've... written some.

Perhaps having gone through a different educational experience changed my view of poetry. My teachers were more inclined to make you puzzle it out, and then challenge what you came up with. It's at this point they pointed out the symbolisms you missed, or the phrase you may have misinterpreted. Analysing poetry was more of a game than anything else for me.

At any rate, it didn't sour me on poetry. And for years, my favorite has been Robert Frost's Fire and Ice. Simple, but oh so gorgeous. <3