Thursday, April 3, 2014

National Poetry Month

Incase you hadn't heard by now, April is National Poetry Month.

So you haven't heard? No surprise. I'd be willing to guess only about one person in a thousand have heard of it.


Well, I blame your school. In fact, I blame your school and your teachers, because they're the ones who taught you that poetry and literature is inaccessible. In other words, you believe you can't enjoy poetry because you can't understand it.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

Back when you were in school, the Powers That Be operated under the belief that you had to understand dusty old verse from people written generations upon generations ago - people most likely dead by now - in order to appreciate modern verse. That belief is, quite frankly, a load of bullshit.

Do you have to know the history of film to enjoy a good movie? Do you have to understand the evolution of the combustion engine and automobile to enjoy speeding down the road in a brand new Ford Mustang? Hell no.

So why is it that academia believe that you can't enjoy poetry (and literature) unless you are taught the classics first? Because that is what they were taught.

Don't get me wrong. There are good teachers out there, and many who do a wonderful job of introducing students to literature and poetry. I had a few growing up. It helped that I already loved reading, so it didn't take much for me to embrace what they taught. But I distinctly recall other students who looked forward to those literature classes where the instructor found ways to make the works we studied enjoyable.

If there were more of those teachers, then maybe more of the general public would enjoy poetry.

But you can change that trend. Go to your local library, check out poetry books by modern authors, or take a chance and buy one ("Good Poems" edited by Garrison Keillor or anything by Billy Collins), search YouTube for Taylor Mali for some poignant and funny spoken word poetry. I promise you will laugh at some, cry at others, but at the very least, you'll be moved, and you will become a lover of poetry and your life will be enriched.

Until Next Time...
Poetically Yours Again,

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