I think poetry is good for the soul.
I know, I know, it might not be everyone’s interest. But can I offer, timidly, that maybe you just haven’t found the right poem?
When I was in high school I grew discouraged because I did not like Shakespeare. I also tried to get into Australian poetry, which was mandatory to study in early high school. And whilst it was good to study these poets and their history, they didn’t stick with me.
I thought I wasn’t smart enough for poetry. In year eleven I started off the year with Extension English (an extra, optional unit on top of mandatory English) – I ended up leaving that class because we were meant to study this long, amazing poem but I didn’t understand it. Everyone else said they didn’t understand it, either, but they all proceeded to get high marks and, well, I didn’t. So that was the end of that. (Again, quite discouraging.)
But then I discovered the likes of Sarah Kay and Rudy Francisco and Lang Leav; they wrote about childhood and love and these are my favourite topics, okay. It was, in all honesty, what I’d been looking for as a young teenager. Finally, something I could understand, or try to, and enjoy trying to. I wanted to listen to their poems all day, read them all day.
Maybe you wouldn’t like these poets. I’m not going to say you have to. But I’m sure, if you looked, you’d find someone out there who’s written something you want to read more than once. When I first found Sarah Kay, a spoken word poet, I listened to some of her poems over and over again. (Also, we share first names and that means I like her by default.)
It’s amazing to think how many poems I haven’t read before – there is still so much I don’t know. But I want to absorb as much as I can.