The Push for Poetry


Poetry, for many, is a literary medium used to release creative thoughts and emotions.

Abstract or otherwise, poems have the potential to move readers and listeners in life-altering ways. Obviously no two poems are exactly alike, although plenty of great poets echo the works of others. When it comes to making a “good poem,”very little is required. In fact, what makes a single poem memorable or special, is subjective. All great poems are great for different reasons: subject matter, word choice, story, and so on. But if poetry is so great, then why do so few young adults actively draw attention to writing it?

In my own personal experience, despite having attended a private school that encouraged creativity, the number of students taking a serious interest in writing was underwhelming. Poetry was always my favorite unit to study in my English classes, but the level of enthusiasm I had was not shared among my peers. After getting to know most of my schoolmates I thought it likely that someone was bound to also enjoy poetry, but I was wrong. They only wrote poetry to avoid writing long format essays. No one I met had a poetry book in their collection, nor could they name a poet besides William Shakespeare or Edgar Allen Poe. The best kind of discussions I had regarding poetry were with my English teachers. My classmates were simply indifferent towards the act of writing poetry or at the very least they were not comfortable sharing it with others.

Whether they write their own poetry or not young adults are no different in the way they are affected by poems as an art form. In many ways, the voice of a poet is the voice of reason for those in need of guidance or insight. A natural response to both good fortune, and tragedy is to seek an outside perspective from someone trustworthy. Poets have been imbued with trust and reverence since their craft is immediately recognizable, and their talent is often undeniable. Perhaps maturing individuals see this talent as too much to measure up to?

Not all people love and admire poetry, and there are several possible reasons why writing poems is not a widely talked about pastime for young adults.

It could be that the forms of poetry have been taught in school, and young people tend to not pick up habits that were once mandatory. It could also be that, despite those forms of poetry being taught in school, they remain elusive to young people amidst all their other studies. Poetry’s malleability is both a benefit to writers, and a conundrum for readers on the surface. This makes writing poetry seem difficult when in reality those forms of poetry are just a way of categorizing pieces to be found. Labeling poems should come well after producing it, but many aspiring writers get caught up on what type of poem they wish to write instead of making it first, then identifying it later.

Rhyming poetry is often the first kind of poetry that one gets taught in school. Dr. Seuss and his litany of rhyming stories were a special treat and remain so in many circles. Elementary writing never seemed so easy, until you look back on it as you enter adulthood. To find a word with a certain sound, then pair it with a similar word sound is essentially all there is to it in early school poetry. The haikus, the prose, and the free forms come later. Perhaps words that rhyme just have a way of sticking in one’s head longer? Easy to remember, hard to forget? Or perhaps in a world of pop culture there are proverbs and phrases that have been adapted from poetry on purpose. Poems by William Shakespeare, Maya Angelou, Ernest Hemingway, and other popular writers have had their work appropriated for movie scripts, love notes, headstones, and more. It is no secret that writing is a form of art, and poetry tends to possess a certain aspect of perceived wisdom thanks to authors like those listed above.

The attraction to words in poetry, and the habit of calling them “wise words”, is a repeating pattern.

Another repeated pattern is examining the future of poets before they even have a chance to blossom. Career paths for poets are known to be hard to attain, and students are less inclined to dive headfirst into the unknowable. Poetry is not like sports, where teams are made by the dozens; poetry cherry picks and shines a narrow spotlight on those with the right words. If finding the right words is hard enough, then writing those words in a specific form could be nearly impossible in the minds of many. However, that has never been the purpose of poetry.

There is this looming misconception that if one does not get famous for their poetry, then it is not worth writing. But the works of Hemingway and Angelou are a basis for inspiration, intended to motivate and grasp up-and-coming writers. Those famous authors did not produce stories just to deter writers who came after. Poetry should not be made on a “publish” or “dispose of” basis; it should be made because it speaks to some group of people enduring the same phenomenon. Poetry can be shared to social media, it can be written on the walls, and it does not have to be published to be deemed valuable or successful. A single poetic stanza can go a long way if one is just willing to put forth the effort. If it speaks to you, it very likely speaks to someone else.  

Poetry does what other art cannot because it transcends a singular definition.

A painted portrait is usually one sided and people judge it through purely visual means. Abstract art is like poetry in that it is more open to interpretation. Feelings, not just senses, go a very long way. Rhyming poetry, despite being the “easiest” kind of poetry for kids, can create feelings that whole other mediums are unable to. Rhymes are focused from one end of the stanza to the next. Readers know where the sound will land, but they don’t know how. For example, “Orange means to blue what the door hinge means to you.” Arguably the logic in this statement is zero to none, but from start to finish the phrase itself is audibly predictable while sensibly not. As a byproduct of this paradox phrase, young readers can feel stooped, inspired, entertained, or all the above. 

The underestimated nature of poetry cannot be surmised in this one blog, but the hope was to at least shed some light on the subject for young adults considering a future in the world of creative writing. People overlook the effect this art has on any given reader, or passerby. Many have started to forget that music is poetry, with very much of it rhyming as well. And people are so quick to judge a poem as if it has all been done before. We at Pine Reads Review assure you, there is so much more creativity left to explore. Give the art another chance, and just see what you might still have to learn from it. The choice to be creative is yours because, ultimately, what rhymes with poetry is you.

PRR Writer, Vinny Cuadrado