I never liked dissecting poetry. I’d rather think about the poem and consider what the person was going through at the time, explore how art relates to life. Of course, with some poets this would be more interesting than others but in every case, more interesting than analyzing a poem for academic classifications of meter or conventions.
Better than picking an existing poem apart, everyone (students, adults, teachers, anyone !) should write poetry, often, even if it’s horrible – e.g. Vogon poetry. Writing poetry makes you reflect, contemplate, and if nothing else, provides a moment of stillness in a world that’s increasingly frantic.
I’d forgotten how beneficial writing poetry is for the soul until I tripped over Andrew Simmons article, “Why Teaching Poetry Is So Important” (April 8) on The Atlantic this morning.
He writes, “Poetry can give students a healthy outlet for surging emotions. Reading original poetry aloud in class can foster trust and empathy in the classroom community, while also emphasizing speaking and listening skills that are often neglected in high school literature classes.” I remember writing poetry in high school and college, often to be incorporated with music, which was my true language if there ever was one. In a life where I couldn’t possibly really be myself, music was the only way I could speak honestly. Likewise, poetry was a way to give emotions weight, permanence, when they’re often so lightweight they float away and yet so heavy that you are left with residual uneasiness for years.
Poetry makes you consider the sentences you write. Are they just facts, just thoughts, or do they sing as art? Even something written about, microbiological research for example, can have a beauty to it. The practice of poetry can help any writer, any person really, communicate beautifully.
Anything that requires you to stop and think for a bit will increase your mindfulness which is something I’m trying to do so maybe it’s time to get in touch with my inner poet…