When most people think of the word “poetry” they grumble, groan and sigh at the thought of having to write a poem. This certainly was the case in my freshman language arts class this past year. We’d entered a new unit that intently focused on poetry and we had a guest poet from the WITS (Writers in the Schools) program whom would work with us once or twice a week to teach us the basics of poetry. I personally was very excited seeing as that I’d worked with this poet before but my classmates seem to unanimously let out groans of discontent. Why is this you ask? As for my class perhaps it was because they’d never been taught the fun side of poetry. I – like them – shivered when thinking of Shakespeare and how to write a poem of that stature until I was introduced to poetry in a new way.
I too used to think of the “old” definition of poetry. That is, each poem had to rhyme, make sense and if it was really good had some elaborate rhyme scheme weaved into it. People tend to mistake this as being concrete rules that one must follow to write a poem, however, this is definitely not the case. When I talk about poetry of this saying I made for myself as a reminder that poetry should be fun, “poetry is not a cashmere sweater but a quilt”. This means that when writing a poem, especially as a first timer it doesn’t have to be perfect, make sense or even remotely have a “lesson” or “deep meaning” it simply has to be imaginative. A poem can be anything at all (well, almost).
It wasn’t until the summer freshman year that I learned poetry truly can be inspired from anywhere after I finished a poetry class at a local college. I also learned about the types of poetry. People tend to think of the “boring” type of poetry as simple page poetry, words on a page that you read, just as it sounds. However, the types of poetry are expansive and there are far too many to cover in a small article such as this one but I can give a few examples. My favorite type has grown to become “spoken word”, yes, this is merely spoken poetry but I’ve found that poems I used to find boring on the page begin to dance as they are shared by their creators. Spoken word poems can have a beat, music and even be sung, that’s the same with slam poetry. Slam poetry (as I once found when looking up the definition) is spoken word on steroids. What this means is that it tends to be preformed on stage in a competition so it usually has a bit more of an edge to it than spoken does. Now that you’ve learned a bit more about poetry, I challenge you to write you own, follow your creative impulsive and see where your mind leads you!
Kendall, Teen Blogger