This is a topic that I have been contemplating to write for some time now. Since, I could not decide whether to write it to the public or personally to Mrs. Johnson, my sophomore teacher. Who for eight years now, kept my feelings of poetry in limbo. I didn’t know if I should shove my once love for poetry to hell with or embrace it heavenly in the form my teacher enlightened it. But after many years of replaying what Mrs. Johnson had taught me, I have learned that she was after all wrong and I, all along, was right.
She had just finished a poem about an individual who was preparing to write but lacking the tools suggested that all a writer ever really needs is a pencil and paper. I vaguely remember the details, but I remember very clearly how it made me feel towards life. I felt as if our goals could be accomplished with the simple desire to accomplish them and that no one should feel discouraged if one lacks the resources and tools. I felt that in life, all that is really needed is the simple things like, ambition. I explained all of this after she had asked the class to explain what the poem meant, confident I rose my hand, not expecting her to backfire my opinion. She explained that the poem meant nothing of what I had suggested and that it was a simple suggestion towards every poet who felt intimidated of ever writing their work. I couldn’t deny her answer, it made just as much sense as my opinion and the opinion of the rest of the class. And for eight years now, this moment of time has caused me to never read a poem having felt that I could never actually read nor understand poetry. But then the question rose from my soul. How does one write and read poetry, correctly?
Trying to write poetry correctly, is impossible. There is no right or wrong way of writing a piece of art, it is something that is simply written. A poet simply feels and some divine spirit takes control of their hands and before they realize it, a poem has been formed in a piece of napkin, wrapping paper, and even, in my case, toilet paper. In a weird way, understanding poetry is understanding the soul and the human spirit. Having a correct way of writing poetry would only destroy the possibilities and the desire of writing. It would only question our ability to write and destroy the sprite of writing. So their is no correct way of writing, one simply writes without ever questioning what is writing by trying to understanding it. Because something within suggested the words to be printed on paper and understood or not they must be important to the heart. So now the question: should a poems be understood?
Poets should never be understood (at least I don’t think they should) nor should they understand themselves. It defies being a poet, understand the working of their spirit,in a sense, imprisons their wondrous soul from venturing off and returning with poems. I do not think they want nor understand themselves. Yet, scholars have a particular goal and that goal is to strip a poem inside out rather than letting the poem strip them. That by understanding the poem, one could have a better understand of the poet. But what good will that do? Why study the life of someone else than their very own? So by questioning the poem rather than letting the poem question the reader destroys the purpose of poetry. The purpose that a poem is not to be understood by any one. It is simply a piece of work that should run through us so that it may inspire us in whatever fashion; in the same way the writer was inspired to write it. Because poetry is meant to influence us passionately in whatever way one understands it. One may understand the poem in one way and another may feel the poets pain and joy. Neither readers are wrong but simply have different perspectives towards it. Their perspectives should not be judged nor declared wrong but respected. There is no right way of reading a poem because there is no such thing as having the right opinion.
Mrs. Johnson left me cornered, leaving to never write another piece of poem or read one. Perhaps, since dropping out, she has left other poets scared of ever coming across a piece of art. So in an effort to restore the spirit within I have written this, in hopes of helping at least a single individual to write away and although not understanding their very own work to not fear what is being felt within. As well as to who feel intimidated to reading poetry and not understanding them when subconsciously the poem had been understood clearly. Because trying to critique, compare, and understand a poem, the enjoyment of reading them is destroyed; as well as the enjoyment of writing one in the future, if one is going to be studied rather than simply admired. So write away, with no understanding, limitations, or fear.
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