I’ve never been a fan of reading poetry. I’m too impatient to enjoy it. I want my fiction delivered up free of simile, metaphor, or symbol. I can handle it if these items are secondary to the story, but if they are presented in a manner which requires me to comprehend to appreciate the book, I just can’t do it.

But, that’s not to say I don’t enjoy live, oral poetry. For example, The Trouble with Poetry, by Billy Collins, the poet laureate of NY State, which I heard last weekend on A Prairie Home Companion. The poem has a line which encapsulates why I like it:

the trouble with poetry is
that it encourages the writing of more poetry,

And, it gets better from there. Remarks about stealing other authors’ work and tongue-in-cheek comments about the end of poetry entirely. It was particularly good because it was read by the author.

I should look for poetry books-on-tape. That might get me hooked.

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One Response to Poetry

  1. Steph says:

    “the trouble with poetry is
    that it encourages the writing of more poetry, ”

    That is so excellent.

    Good poetry is a grand thing. Bad poetry is pretty bad though. And I think part of the problem is that people think that either:

    a) every line has to be a traditional end-rhyme
    b) that any free
    verse simply needs
    a carriage return in
    unexpected places to be a poem

    Like Outback, poetry can be “no rules, just right”. But it helps if you know some of the rules (in a loose sense of the word) so that you can flaunt them.

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