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A Question for NON Poetry Lovers

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Lately the sentence "Even though I usually don't like poetry" and variations thereon seem to be cropping up all around the forum. As someone who loves, studies and writes verse, the very notion interests (not to mention concerns) me somewhat. I guess my question for all you people who don't usually like poetry is... why not?

 

*don't hit the poet! we're consumptive & weak in constitution* :)

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Ok, I'll be the first to put my hand up. My problem is I just don't know how to read and understand poetry. I know I must have been taught poetry in English classes at school, but none of it has sunk in, and I'm left just seeing words on a page, without knowing the mechanics of how to read them ... Why does the line and end but the sentence not? Where is the rhythm supposed to be in this verse? What is this supposed to be about?

 

I think my dislike is not really dislike, just that I don't have an instinctive feel for language in the form of verse, and I've never learnt the rules of poetry, so I just don't know how to appreciate and love it.

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I'm with Chesil - I just don't "get" it. I get really put off when I feel like the poet is obviously trying too hard (all metaphores and similies all over the place), whereas with prose, it doesn't feel so much like a chore. Most of the poetry that I do like is nonsense poetry like Jabberwocky by Lewis Carol (from Alice Through teh Looking Glass).

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I think it's because poetry is actually a personal experience unlike prose. I didn't really like poetry until I read Dulce Est Decorum Est by Wilfred Owen. Before then I had absolutely no interest in poetry - aside from the odd comic poem. It's finding the right one for you - like a life time partner.

My sister doesn't like poetry very much but the Moth one I shared on here she liked and could understand the 'skill that went into it'. Which I think is strange as she's a song writer ... and to me, songs are poetry - Just got to listen to some Beatles lyrics and Nightwish lyrics to see that.

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I personaly didn't like it because the i learnt it in english, and well it just seemed rather boring. But i am begining to like it now :D might even buy a poetry book somtime :).

Edited by naivion

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Like most people here I did poetry at school and the only part of a poem that I can remember is 'a host of golden daffodils'. I've always said I never liked poetry yet I loved Suzanna's poem about the moth I could understand it and picture the moth going for the light. So maybe it's a matter of not understanding poetry rather than disliking it maybe there is a certain type of poetry that l would like who knows. The thing is I wouldn't know what kind of poets to try maybe someday I'll get around to trying a poet.

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I am a bit scared (for want of a better word) of poetry I think. When I was in school, you are forced to read it which I think takes the enjoyment out of it. In school I found that I had to look for a deeper meaning instead of just enjoying it. I also felt like this about books too. When I reached sixth and studied English Lit, we looked at Wilfred Owen which I enjoyed. I found his writing style easy to understand and it didn't intimdate me at all. I'm waffling now, so I'll stop :)

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I enjoy poetry if I understand it, I remember reading poems by Seamus Heaney at school and enjoying them but poety has never really done it for me. :)

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I enjoy poetry if I understand it, I remember reading poems by Seamus Heaney at school and enjoying them but poety has never really done it for me. :)

 

We did Seamus Heaney too, maybe for GCSE? We also read 6 Women Poets.

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We did Seamus Heaney too, maybe for GCSE? We also read 6 Women Poets.

 

I can't remember Kimmy which exam it was for, did you enjoy his poems?:D :)

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I can't remember Kimmy which exam it was for, did you enjoy his poems?:) :)

 

They were okay for the first couple of reads and then I had to read them over and over and over again so got a bit fed up :D

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I used to love poetry. In high school I always loved figuring out the hidden meaning in the poems we discussed in poetry class - the hidden meaning was somehow always death, which made answering exam questions quite easy :). I even had a nice little booklet I used to jot down poems of my own making - I enjoyed writing poetry when I still had a bit of teenage angst in me. But then my interest in it just, well, died. But, even though I don't usually like poetry, (:D), I can appreciate a good verse when I read one. I suppose, like most things, it's simply a matter of personal preference.

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I wouldn't say I like poetry - I'd say I like some poems. I don't like the whole structuring thing that goes on with poems - I've studied poetry in my English course and I hate breaking poems down syllable by syllable - I'm very simple. If I read it and I like it and I think it flows/uses language well, I'm happy. What I don't like about it is the level of analysis poetry apparently requires. What I do like is the more artistic expression of concepts that what might be found in a book. I like a lost of Robert Frost's poetry, and W. B. Yeats/Seamus Heaney/Patrick Kavanagh and other Irish poets (because of much of the patriotic subject matter), "Funeral Blues" by W. H. Auden and that one by Alexander Pope, "Eloisa to Abelard" - some lines are just superb, particularly: "Oh Death! All eloquent, you only prove, what dust we dote on when tis man we love." That sort of short, artistic expression of a raw sentiment is something I love in truly great poetry.

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Yup. That's me. :D I don't usually read poetry, but I do like it!

 

Trouble is, I don't know where to start--? There's centuries of it, and I've never immersed myself enough to know 'who' I would like. I will shamelessy blame all my high-school teachers who spent endless weeks on books by Hemingway or Hawthorne just because they found them fascinating, but which bored me. I could not become enthused about the constant discussions on symbolism, etc., which could easily have been covered in a few classes! But, no!! We had to re-hash these for what seemed like eons. Sadly I don't remember my teachers covering poetry of any kind!

 

I just bought a biography about Wordsworth, so hopefully my poetic-appreciation will increase after reading it. I'm also planning to read some of Byron's work, because I've been reading a lot of references to him in other biographies. (Notice a theme, here? I tend to work my way into things with the 'life-story' first.)

 

Who would suggest I read, apart from these?

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The reason that I don't like poetry is because it simply doesn't mean anything to me. I'm not the type of guy who likes to over-analyse things, and poetry seems to be all about over-analysis.

 

I severely doubt that any poem is worth the ridiculous amount of time spent deciphering it like we did in school, and I much prefer a good book which keeps you interested throughout rather than a poem which you takes a minute to read - but hours to work out.

 

I'm not the type of guy who holds song lyrics close to the heart either; I like good lyrics of course, but I can't listen to anything that doesn't have good music accompanying the words. I guess that I'm just part of an unsentimental generation.

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@ Anika:

 

First of all, shame on those teachers who instead of inspiring their students, bore them to death. Englis Lit classes can be brilliant - together with Philosophy they were the only thing that kept me from quitting school at 16 - so it saddens me when they're not :D.

 

As for what you should be reading, I'd need a bit more info to get the cogs working on that. I find that the themes that interest me in prose interest me in poetry, so if you could give me an idea of your favourite classic novels and ideas you like to read about, I'll gladly put my expertise at your service :).

 

@ Jay:

 

I'd disagree that poetry is all about over-analysis. To my mind, a poem which doesn't mean anything except after hours of excruciating labour is not a particularly good poem.

 

Of course, poetry is infinitely layered and if you so wished, you could spend weeks, months and years working it out - but the point is that even the poems you could analyse all your lifetime to get to the bottom of, usually have something quite immediate to say.

 

Take Shakespeare's Sonnet 116, for instance, my very own favourite poem:

 

Let me not to the marriage of true minds

Admit impediments; love is not love

Which alters when it alteration finds,

Or bends with the remover to remove:

O, no, it is an ever-fix

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You're preaching to the converted here Bookjumper - I could spend hours working through Thomas Kinsella extracting the last drop from his poems, BUT they do have an immediate messsage as well. That was just an example by the way

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I could spend hours working through Thomas Kinsella extracting the last drop from his poems, BUT they do have an immediate messsage as well.
Thank you, my point precisely. I've spent the summer staring at three Shakespearean sonnets and willing them to surrender their secrets to me, yet it's not like they don't have a surface level one can interact with instinctually.

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The original point that I'm yet to read a poem that means anything to me still stands though. I don't react at all to love poems, as I'm a born misanthrope who has a bad habit of not being able to spend long periods of time in the company of any person.

 

I think that people should be allowed to have a disinterest in poetry without the literature snobs (not aimed at anybody here) scoffing at them, as there many subjects that I, and others deem important that are largely ignored by the same people.

 

We all have our blind spots, and that makes us human I guess.

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Fair enough.

 

Would you deem me a snob if I insisted, and asked you for an example of the many subjects you deem important? The reason I ask is that poetry is something that there is a lot of, and an immense variety in. Therefore, I find it difficult to believe that, given the right piece of poetry that deals with issues which are of interest to you, you would remain unmoved.

 

Should I fail, rest assured I'll allow you to be as disinterested in poetry as you wish :D.

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Bookjumper has expressed my sentiments exactly. It saddens me how popular mediocre use of language is. This affects all languages - I'm bilingual English/German and detest Denglish. As to poetry try reading Thomas Kinsella, its direct, but subtle.

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Fair enough.

 

Would you deem me a snob if I insisted, and asked you for an example of the many subjects you deem important? The reason I ask is that poetry is something that there is a lot of, and an immense variety in. Therefore, I find it difficult to believe that, given the right piece of poetry that deals with issues which are of interest to you, you would remain unmoved.

 

Should I fail, rest assured I'll allow you to be as disinterested in poetry as you wish :D.

 

Not at all :(

 

The main subject that I deem extremely important is politics. There are way too many people who are willfully ignorant of how our country is run just because they find political figures 'boring'

 

Now, I accept that most of them are boring, but that doesn't mean that you just shouldn't care about what goes on around you. One of the reasons that things are in such a mess is because people are too busy worshipping a deity based on what a book told them rather than giving two hoots about what real things are going on right in front of them.

 

I assume that there is some good political poetry about, but I wouldn't even be interested in that. My main reason for reading is to be informed, and I just don't feel that I am learning anything that is significant to me from a poem.

 

Even the great songwriters from my favourite bands/artists (The Velvet Underground, The Rolling Stones, The Beatles, The Clash, Dylan, and so on ...) don't influence me in the way they are supposed too.

 

I don't think I can fully explain my reasons for not having an enthusiastic interest in poetry, but it's just something that I don't think is ever going to come to me. It doesn't mean I am uncultured baboon who can't distinguish between 'your' and 'you're' :D

 

I'll try and make up for my lack of interest in poetry by reading Ulysses five times over :)

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I'll try and make up for my lack of interest in poetry by reading Ulysses five times over
Please don't, I fear for your sanity :D I only managed about three pages and I read (and write!) abstruse words for breakfast!

 

I'd take issue with your statement that you poetry cannot inform. Human affairs (from relationships to politics, from theology to progress) have been following the same patterns for millennia, therefore it seems to me like there is oh so much that can be learnt regarding the way politics work from a variety of historical sources, poetry included.

 

I'm not a great reader of political poetry myself (I'm afraid I'm more the metaphysical sort - please don't hurt me:lurker:) but I'll have a ponder; I'm sure I can come up with something.

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Poetry, like literature, is subjective. What I like might not be what the next person likes. My beef with poetry pros is that they sometimes think the poetry they like is better than the poetry I like. So, that sets me off a bit I guess. Some poetry folks are so adamant, too.

In reality, all of the creative arts are subjective.:D

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My beef with poetry pros is that they sometimes think the poetry they like is better than the poetry I like.
I would never dare presume such a thing :D. This thread was inspired by my genuine desire to understand the viewpoint of those who don't like poetry one single itsy bit; consuming and producing it are amongst the things that most make me feel alive so I have problems computing the idea that some people don't enjoy any poetry, ever.

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