My Stigma of Poetry

by courtvanhaaren

I remember sitting in my sociology class, listening to my professor tell stories of how the poets are the unbreakable spirits. The poets are the ones who will not sell their essence to conform. Their words hold value, but are lethal to those in charge depending on what they say. My professor opened up our semester talking about the poets, and brought them up a few times throughout the semester. It really stuck to me how he blatantly idolized their spirit. My professor prided himself on only teaching facts in class; yet when he spoke of poets there seemed to be more than just fact behind it.

I think of his poet stories once in awhile and how I felt like I idolized the poets as much as him. His words kept me on edge. I was so desperate to hear every single thing he had to say on the subject. Even so, as I sit and try to create my own poetry I cannot help but feel the opposite.

I will be completely honest: I do not feel inspired to write about poetry. Ever. I was always one for interpreting or telling a story, not one for exposing my inner thoughts and feelings. Not only that, poetry is surprisingly restrictive in structure for being so expressive. Maybe that is my lack of experience in such literature, but I could never really grasp the importance of the different styles and their formation. Free verse or nothing was (and still is) my personal stance.

I feel like a fifteen year old teenager again trying to sit here and write

Yeah, actual quote from your’s truly about poetry. I don’t know how or why I have this stereotype in my mind about creating poetry, in both asserting:

  • It’s lack of validation by stressing that only teenagers write it
  • Disregarding a teenager’s emotions as something less than what they are

But of course I don’t feel like I am alone in this prejudice against poetry writing. For a self proclaimed writer to have such a derogatory stance on a form of writing seems pretty petty and ridiculous. Is this formed out of the ridicule of emotions? Society’s disinterest in the self expression? How can I feel so negative about a style of writing to the point of a degree of prejudice but idolize the stories of a professor? Did I interchange writer with poet, only validating those who tell tales without rhyming?

Why do I feel this way? I genuinely do not feel like the negative disposition comes from the formation of the words. At the very least writing poetry can only encourage and strengthen my abilities. It must be narrowed down to genuinely expressing oneself.

I don’t read/write enough poetry to give any constructive criticism, unfortunately

But I think it’s really raw and beautiful

That is the response that I received from my friend (who happens to be an amazing writer) after I sent her the poem I am currently trying to attempt. “Raw and beautiful.” Why would I be so against something that expresses myself in a beautiful way? Why am I so negative about expressing myself?

I really cannot fathom why. Reaching the end of this rant has not gave me any conclusions, other than that I have some barriers to break through with my own writing and writing styles in general. I think I might begin an experiment with writing poems. Try a different style each week? Guess I should not include free verse in that. Maybe as a warm up? Gotta start somewhere. Yes, a simple but challenging enough project. This should be interesting.

If any of you are reading this, do you find yourselves to be prejudiced against poetry in any way? Am I alone in this?