This month is NaPoMo, an entire month of poetry! I have not been able to participate in the “poem a day” because of class, so I thought I would share my piece “A Fear of Poetry” which I wrote for a speech contest I recently participated in.
A Fear of Poetry
When I tell people “I’m a Poet,” the light kind of vanishes from their eyes.
If they don’t know anything about poetry or haven’t read a poem, instantly there is this wall that comes up between us.
They may get the impression I’m some kind of snob, who thinks that I’m smarter than them just because I am a Poet.
The obscurity surrounding poetry, half bard-magic and half highbrow literature, all contributes to this idea that poetry is somehow incomprehensible to the average person.
I understand this reaction because I had the same one seven years ago when I finally found myself learning about poetry.
I was in my first creative writing class my freshman year here at the U of U. We read Maggie Nelson’s “Bluets” which changed my life forever. We were encouraged to explore words and art and I found myself diving head first into poetry, scared and in love.
Although I was unsure and I felt that I was not smart enough to understand poetry I decided to pursue it.
Now, seven years later I’ve had a handful of poems published and I plan on self-publishing a small book of poems in the near future.
My message to the audience is that Poetry matters and it’s not as scary as you think.
Poetry is all around us and hides in plain sight.
Poetry is not a static form, it’s not just ballads and sonnets from hundreds of years ago. It’s alive and changing with us.
It’s the words that reverberate within our souls, the words, and phrases that make our hearts jump and dive. Words we remember for the rest of our lives.
So what do I suggest to those curious about poetry?
Become familiar with poetry.
Dip your toes, start with small with poems like William Carlos Williams “Red Wheelbarrow”.
Eventually, you may have to tread water, you may think you will drown but the surface is closer than you think.
And even if you do drown a little there is joy in drowning in poetry.
Poetry allows us to connect with ourselves and our community, it is a love for a lifetime and you don’t have to be a poet, a writer, or an English major to understand it.
All you have to do is read.
Thank you for reading my work!