Friday, March 23, 2012

Is Poetry Boring? Who Reads Poetry?

Got Poetry?
 What? Poetry?

     Two times in the last year I gave my poetry chapbooks to friends who are fiction readers to get their opinions. When one friend returned  the book she said nothing, not even thank you. It was as if she didn't want to talk about the book. She seemed embarrassed like I had given her something illegal or so horrible she wanted to cover if up like a woman who hides her face not wanting to let a man she likes see her blush. Yes, some people still blush.
     I asked  the other friend what she thought. She was honest and said she didn't get many of  the poems and said it was her not me. I have heard that line its me not you before, not from a friend and not about poetry.
     Both friends love to read but not poetry. I had inflicted them with words in a form that had little meaning to them. And they had a hard time telling me. I became the poetry leper. If  you see her walking towards you with one of her little books, run is what I imagine one of my friends now says to the other.
     Sometimes I wonder if people who write poetry are from some kinder gentler world ruled by the planet Neptune. In astrology Neptune rules poetry.

"Neptune comprises those transcendent forces that tend to loosen and dissolve the artificial barriers of time, space, egos, and nations, and the traditions, conventions and laws (of man and nature) which appear unchangeable".

     Or maybe  poets live in an alternate universe ruled by the sounds and symbols of words and images that not everyone finds familiar or tangible. Many poets live in a world of incomplete sentences (when they write poetry) and metaphor among other experiences. 
     Whatever the reason poetry does not seem to capture the attention of the mainstream unless it rhymes, like in hip hop or advertising copy or song lyrics. Even then it can be a hard sell. I know people who would much rather read a Jackie Collin's novel, no offense to you Jackie, than read a poem that gets to the core of passion and  greed and ends happily in about 5 minutes. 
   There are genres for everyone.  Literature diversity is a good thing. But why is poetry a misunderstood form of writing to many, a mystery they cannot be bothered to decipher?

 Do You Like  Poetry?

 Post a response if you'd like.


Helen Ingram said...

Hiya I am a fellow poet, I am struggling to get people to read my work , maybe we should come up with a plan. :D
Thats my page on facebook.

Helen Ingram said...

I think its very hard for poetry to be known. I have a self published book on Amazon and have only had two reviews. Its painful when my passion for poetry is so great but no one seems to want to know about it.

Elizabeth said...

Hi Helen, Thanks for posting your FB link and telling us about your book on Amazon. Post a link if you'd like.
I think many people think poetry is not for them. But poetry is for everyone and in everyone. We all have experiences, feelings, opinions and the ability to express them in different forms. The lyrics to songs are poetry. Bob Dylan's lyrics are an example. Adele's songs are poetry. Advertising copy is poetry. A conversation can be poetry.

Elizabeth said...

Good link on poetry

Elizabeth said...

Finding your audience can be an ongoing challenge unless you have a platform that is visible to many people like if you are famous for something else like being a celebrity or politician. Have you thought of doing an online book tour?