“Poetry is not a turning loose of emotion, but an escape from emotion; it is not the expression of personality, but an escape from personality. But, of course, only those who have personality and emotions know what it means to want to escape from these things.”
As I’ve mentioned before, we’re currently reading Othello by Shakespeare in class. One of the most impressive things I’ve learned about Shakespeare is that he wrote all his plays in iambic pentameter. For those of you who don’t know what that is, it’s what gives the lines in his play’s that “tick tock” sound. You can learn more about them here: About Iambic Pentameter. But another thing I find impressive is the fact that his longest play, Hamlet, has about 150-200 pages (depending on the version) and is written completely in sonnets. That’s a lot of rhyming and a lot of poetry.
Every year since second grade I’ve had a poetry unit in school. And every year since second grade I’ve heard moans and groans from my unhappy classmates. I’ve never understood them, I’m always thrilled when teacher tells us about haiku’s or Limerick. After all, how hard is it to figure out a three line, 17 word poem? How hard is it to look up a word on rhymezone.com? Well, maybe I was lying when I said I’ve never understood my classmates. I get it, sometimes poetry is a messy ball of emotion and unfinished sentences. Sometimes it makes allusions to things way above our heads or uses words way too complex for our current age level. But that doesn’t mean you should find a shovel and dig a grave so deep that poetry will never see the light of day again. Give it a chance, you might find that poetry isn’t so bad after all.
The Ink Menagerie’s list of suggested poems:
The Hollow Men by T S Eliot
11 3 by Bailey Elizabeth
If by Rudyard Kipling
Ithaka by C.P Cavafy
There Are Always Alternatives by LiliWrites
Charlie Howard’s Desent by Mark Doty*
Voices to Voices, Lip to Lip by E.E. Cummings
Blue Bird by Charles Bukowski
Winter Kisses by Billimarie
I’m Going to be Okay by Sarah Narcise
The Crowd He Becomes by Jake Adam York
Bones and Shadows by John Philip Johnson
Soak my Feet in Wine by Sadia
June Second by Misha Collins
Morning Song by Sylvia Plath
Duino Elegies: The Tenth Elegy by Rainer Maria Rilke
I know I’m pretty cuz the boy’s tell me so by Angel Nafis**
Keeping Quiet by Pablo Neruda
Outgoing by Matt Rasmussen
This Rain is so Fitting by Alexis Cook
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*Over the summer I was fortunate enough to be able to attend The Juniper Institute for Young Writers. While I was there, Mark Doty was one of our guest speakers and read us a few of his poems. That was unforgettable. For those of you who have never heard this man read, his presence will fill up an entire room while he is reading. It’s astonishing.
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**Angel’s poems were suggested to me by a friend of mine from Juniper. When I tried looking her up, all I could really find were videos on youtube. I ended up clicking on one and found out why there were so few digital copies of her poetry. Angel’s poems are meant to be read out loud. The one poem I did manage to find (listed above) is sadly, not on Youtube or any other video site. So instead I have a poem written in collaboration with Jon Sands called Black Girl White Boy (the style of poetry is still the same):
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As you can see, most of the poetry is free verse. There’s a reason for that.
Free verse poetry, I’ve found, comes so much more naturally to me than writing a short story. I’m sure I’m not the only one who has come to that conclusion. There is not always a need for a beginning, middle, and end. Sometimes raw and untempered human emotion is enough, never mind word order or rhyme scheme. You can forget a period here and there and say it was a stylistic choice; the rules have been tossed out the window and it’s a free for all.
But on another note, I hope that you have enjoyed the poetry. I know that sometimes when teachers shove complex poems written in old English, it results in people having a distaste for poetry. I hope this has shown that it’s not all bad. Instead, sometimes it can be sad or truthful or entertaining.