Poetry Annoys

Poetry is annoying

Well what do we mean by poetry … many answers to this question … what do we mean by beauty … a similar problem … but perhaps it is easier to know when we recognise beauty … but do we know when we recognise poetry …

If there is a formalised definition – for example, we could say poetry must have within it some sort of poetic structure and then define poetic structure ( such as rhyme, rhythm …), so in this way we could filter work according to our agreed definition (I still meet people who say a poem is not a poem unless it rhymes)

But of course what happens then is that a defined poem may not be ‘poetic’ in the eyes of the beholder … just as beauty is very much in the eye of the beholder … so perhaps individual taste has a lot to say on what is poetry and what is not poetry (or at least what is worthy of the name, what is ‘good’)

… today conformity to some form of rigour in the nature of poetic expression is somewhat lacking … an almost anything goes attitude and if the author defines the work as a poem then it is a poem (at least to her or him) … so given this wide approach to what is accepted perhaps individual taste is much more important in defining the nature of poetry and poetic expression

… and perhaps those poems that have ‘agreed common poetic respect’ will survive the ravages of time and like splendid historic homes be frequented by many visitors.

But what does a poem do for you? … what differentiates poetry from other reading? … an elderly lady was asked to give her view … her reply was simple …

… a poem annoys

… elaborating … I have to stop and think and spend time looking at the text … in short I am arrested … and furthermore I might not be rewarded after using time and energy

I like this response … poetry makes you think

… whether you – see an experience in a new light, see life in a different perspective to the extent of changing behaviour – or whether your awareness is stimulated to the extent of widening your understanding and appreciation of life by understanding another – is, of course, another matter.

Please enjoy those annoying times when poetry may arrest you out of the blue – but you are always free to go afterwards.

Your word in my ear ...

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