Wednesday, February 3, 2016

If poetry is the food of love, I'll just starve.

I hate poetry.

"Hate is a pretty strong word," you may respond.  "And how can you hate poetry?  What about haikus?  What about T.S. Eliot or e.e.cummings?  What about Tennyson, Crane, Shelley or Byron?"

To that, I would respond, "Hate, hate, hate, hate, hate, hate, hate!"

What does this have to do with IWSG?  Right now my classes are covering poetry as part of the curriculum, and it's hard for me to hide my disdain.  Whenever I confess to another English teacher or writer that I dislike poetry, they always seem shocked.  Apparently, if you have any literary leanings, the love of poetry is supposed to be embedded in your DNA.

If you're a teacher, you can't convey your dislike for a particular subject or topic to your class, or else they'll assume it isn't important or will figure they don't have to put much effort into it.  Poetry is mandatory in the language arts class, and yes, I understand the value of its study.  I also understand the value of mopping the floor, but that doesn't mean I enjoy doing it.

I do have some exceptions.  I love Shakespeare's sonnets, probably because I love his plays.  I like the occasional Sylvia Plath verse as well, but I never think, "Poetry!  Oh boy, this is going to be great!"  My dislike probably stems from my love of a straightforward story.  Even when I read a novel, I tend to skip over long descriptions and go straight for the explication or dialogue.

Part of this unit involves students writing a poem of their own, an assignment I argued against strenuously.  I can honestly say without hyperbole that nothing makes me want to put a gun in my mouth more than reading another poem about love or friendship written by a 15-year-old.  Lines like "My love is true, I'll always be there for you" cause me to feel like I just suffered an aneurysm.

So pity me as I slog through more explanations of rhymes, alliteration, anaphora and symbolism.  Pity me even more when a student gets that "poetic spark" and asks me to read the poetry she's been secretly writing for years. And if you're another blogger who wants to post a poem on your blog, sorry, but I'll have to skip reading it.  There's only so much punishment one teacher can take.