I like many fiction books. I like many non-fiction books. I like books about music. I like some biography books. I’m not much keen on self help books. I don’t like romantic fiction. I don’t really like poetry books.
I like different forms of writing, different styles, be it more direct, simple description, or more embellished, a beautiful flow and tone, a rhythm to the language. With that in mind, I’m not really keen on poetry.
I like music, I love the sound of music first, but I often find lyrics I love as well. I like the rhyming couplets of Morrissey (especially his lyrics in the Smiths), but also find something in the stories of Bruce Springsteen (check for example lyrics like, The River, or Highway patrolman). But I don’t find much enjoyment in Poetry.
Why is this? I’m well aware that the great Poets use language very well, that well chosen words evoke powerful or colourful images, or juxtaposed words invoke a particular emotion or context. I know the power it is supposed to have. I know it it is great to learn from, I don’t hate it, so why do I just, not like it?
I think it started all started on a wrong foot and went down from there. The image of some drippy fop lying on the grass with his jumper tied round his shoulders, notepad on his lap composing an ode the women he loves, but is afraid to talk to, well that didn’t represent my life. It didn’t look like anything from my life at all, nor what I wanted it to be. It kind of felt a bit, well a bit like my second point, a bit snobby. Poetry seemed albeit along time ago in my life, to be a bit upper class toff, a thing for the snobs. Once I learnt more about it, and how it is often viewed as the upper tier of writing, the correct way to use language, then that just reinforced it. And you may have learnt already what I feel about snobbishness in writing. Sure I would subsequently learn that the use of language is no bad thing, even if I don’t agree that it is necessarily the pinnacle of writing, but the pattern was set. It didn’t feel like a club I wanted to be a part of, it felt like something to avoid. It felt like too much hard work.
Well that was then and this is now. These days I’ve had a complete turn around and I cannot get enough of it. It is the best thing ever. – No hold on, it isn’t. When I read some poetry now, I can appreciate it more for what it is, as an art form, and I try and evaluate the use of language. I’ve softened on it a bit, but I wouldn’t say we’re common acquaintances. We might have a passing hello and a quick catch up to ask how life is, how things are going, but we wouldn’t hang out. When I start reading poetry, after a short while my eyes begin to droop. It’s like one of those lectures you might have to attend about something you need to know, but once the lecturer gets going, the presentation makes you want to sleep. Oh Poetry, why must you be so dull to me? Must I have to offer you something in return?
Perhaps I do. Let me give something to it and see what I can get in return. In a few days I may attempt on this here blog, some “simple” poetry. I think I shall start with some Haiku. It will be unplanned, from the top of my head, the opening draft. Feel free to pop by and see how poorly I do.
Lexicon word of the day: Circumlocution.