RANT 3: Poetry

I’m very particular about poetry; most of it I consider to be ridiculous romantic drivel, which I then mentally gag at and reject. On the upside, there are a select few that I do attempt to memorise, and actually have some emotional meaning and attachment for me. Rossetti’s Remember. Alfred Lord Tennyson’s Lady of Shalott. Shakespeare. Beowulf. But it seems that I am alone in my (albeit slightly cynical) love of poetry.

Today, the English department at school announced that everyone would have to remember and recite two poems for a competition. The notion that over one hundred fifteen and sixteen year olds would eagerly learn a section of Paradise Lost/The Ballad of Reading Gaol/another poem from a vast anthology is an entertaining one – but not for my compatriots. The message was spreading around my year like wildfire; and racing before it were faces of dread, suggestions of petitions against it, walk-outs and protests. All because they didn’t like the idea of standing in front of their peers and saying a poem, for crying out loud. Can you tell that this irritates me intensely?

What I cannot quite grasp is why everyone finds this suggestion to be in the same realm as the death penalty. THERE’S NOTHING WRONG WITH POETRY. I actually love finding new poems, and reciting them in my head has often served me well when faced with an extra-long assembly or tedious family meetings. Everyone classifies poetry as being ‘sad’ or ‘nerdy’, AND THIS REALLY (apologies for language) PISSES ME OFF. Some of this country’s greatest minds wrote poetry – Shakespeare and Oscar Wilde, I’m lookin’ at you – yet in these small-minded pubescent craniums, the word ‘poetry’ is synonymous with ‘social death’.

I think the cause of this problem is the fact that at primary school, children aren’t really exposed to poetry that much. One of the only reasons as to why I have a liking for it is because of my dad, who used to read me poems instead of stories. I’ve also found that many of my peers consider poetry as ‘challenging or *reads in atypical teenage tones* ‘I just don’t geddit’. Poetry is (sometimes) beautiful, and the only way to ‘geddit’, in my opinion, is to immerse yourself. AND THIS IS AN ISSUE THAT NEEDS TO BE TACKLED.

I genuinely might start a campaign in order to tackle said issue. Any thoughts from you guys?

Apologies for my disappearing act, blogosphere, but school is making me busy. I’ve just spent the past twenty minutes weeping over a 1000 word essay.

I’d love to hear your opinions!



7 thoughts on “RANT 3: Poetry

  1. I am kind of with your peers. I was never a fan of poetry. From highschool all the way to grad school, it is just not my cup of tea. That doesn’t mean it can’t be beautiful, but I never enjoyed poetry. I think you make a good point about exposure. It could simply be that we aren’t exposed to it. I didn’t have to read serious poetry until college. By then it made me cringe. Maybe if we started kids out sooner it wouldn’t be such a daunting subject.


  2. It is not a case of “everyone” not liking poetry. It is simply the people you are surrounded by. At the moment you are in school which is a small community. In years to come you will have the option to socialise with like minded people to yourself. They like what they like, you like poetry.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I do agree with you, although I think that many kids don’t have the opportunity to really appreciate poetry nowadays – I think that perhaps if they did, more people my age would enjoy it/tolerate it, and not see it as a negative thing.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. My first reaction on reading your post was that I’ve felt so like this. Back when I was 17, 18, I memorized The Ballad of Reading Gaol just for the sheer beauty of the lines. I suppose poetry says more about the reader than most other mediums, you have to interpret every line to make it meaningful and that needs involvement and practice, and so the lack of exposure makes many people see poetry negatively.


    1. EXACTLY! I love the Ballad of Reading Gaol so much, and I’m actually learning a part of it for school. Like you, I think exposure is the biggest issue, as poetry is very much out of the spotlight in education nowadays.


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