My friend aristotimos is studying poetry at WWU, and wrote an interesting essay this evening titled The Secret Art of Interpreting a Poem Correctly. It's worth checking out, and got me thinking about my relationship (or lack thereof) with poetry.
When I was in 7th grade, I tried to write some poetry. It rhymed. It conveyed deep thoughts. It was even... poetic!
But though I tried to write it, the truth was, I was doing it for the acclaim it was getting me (or not getting me) from teachers/family members/peers. I wasn't attempting to write it for the sake of the experience. And when I didn't get the acclaim, I stopped writing it. Because writing it wasn't a satisfying experience.
I've also never developed a taste for reading
most poetry. I don't have the patience for it. I find it difficult enough at times to relate to other people's emotions on an interpersonal level. Trying to wade through purposely obfuscated language in order to "feel" something makes me feel like my time is being wasted. Just TELL
me what it is you're trying to convey already! Sheesh!
Usually I don't feel much of anything when I read poetry, unless you count frustration, or boredom. My eyes glaze over. My analytical mind keeps going, "Where's the meat?" Sometimes, titles, footnotes and annotations to poems are more informative than the poem itself.
I guess it's why I prefer prose. It's the way I'm wired. I prefer words that convey information over words that convey emotion.
There is, however, one kind of poetry that I do adore, and write often: Haiku.
Because, for me, writing haiku isn't about emotion. Haiku is about precision, and technique. How skillfully can you shrink an idea, an image, an experience into as few words as possible, and still be clear? Clarity of word choice is the key. Poetic language is to be avoided. Get your message across, quickly, and calmly. It suits my minimalist tastes.
I usually write traditional 5-7-5 syllable haiku. In fact, there's a whole slew of them on my LJ User Profile
, dating back several years. I add a new one, reflecting current events in my life, from time to time.
Here's my latest:
I broke up with him
when I grew tired of buying
so much lice shampoo.
Yes, there is a wry humour to it. It's not devoid of emotion. But the emotion is short, punchy, and secondary to the relevant information: This is what I did, and here's why.*
For me, haiku is the perfect poetry. It's perfect for short attention spans. Here's the words, here's the information, maybe even an emotional charge attached to it, BAM! All done.
I can focus longer on words than just a microsecond, even read whole books -- but only if the writer is not making me work for it. Most poetry makes me work, for very little payoff. This, more than anything else, explains my lack of interest in most poetry.
=========*OK, I admit it, that's not the ONLY reason I broke up with him... but it is central to the whole reason why I got tired of sleeping with him - poor hygiene, lack of overall cleanliness, and a constant case of crabs drove me up the wall. And I got fed up with cleaning up his candy bar wrappers after him.