December 16


Why Poetry Is Not Part of Your To-Be-Read List

By Odyssa

December 16, 2021

If you look at the books I recommend, most of them are non-fiction books, with a few novels. I started reading contemporary poetry books recently (classics are always hard for me to get into), but in the past years, I stayed away from them until the poems in Like A New Sun Rising were brought to light. It took awhile for me to learn why poetry wasn't part of my to-be-read list, and you may have the same reasons. 

I did get into writing songs (and forming a band) in college. Don't they all sound nice when they rhyme?  Writing them is like putting together pieces of a puzzle, word by word. 

Not everyone is into poetry.

Poetry demands too much of our imagination and that, at times, poses a barrier between the reader and the writer. It seems to be written for a select few, for those who are willing to fill in the blanks between words and verses that indirectly tell a story. 

Most full-length novels, short stories, and personal essays lavishly provide the details, with a proper beginning, the chronicles, written in an order that directs a reader to its end. 

Poetry may not be accessible to all, but that's what makes it special and, still, relevant to that smaller population. 

Author Ben Lerner says this about people getting upset about poetry in this article:
"It is more a sign of poetry’s relevance, a sign of the importance of poetic practice, than it is a sign of its death, which is proclaimed every few years. It just means that we have a desire for our language to be able to perform in a different way than it performs."

Poetry is still widely read these days.

This confirmed what's been on my mind lately. With writers and readers cooped up and working at home, interest in poetry rose after the pandemic began, according to USA Today. In the same article, it says poetry is experiencing a renaissance.

Rupi Kaur, author of several bestselling poetry collections says "during times like this, artists and thinkers and makers get to work. Creating is a form of processing and reflecting. I think we're going to be seeing so much coming out and more artists releasing books of poetry."

Poetry captures what's ungraspable. It articulates what's hard to put into words.

There are many styles of poetry. Contemporary poets such as Sophia Elaine Hanson and Jennae Cecelia are poets who write in free verse - poems with inconsistent meter and don't rhyme. 

Some poems have a few words (and letters!) in them but tell a heartfelt story, and some need a bit more time to comprehend. I am sure there are millions of poems out there undiscovered, still waiting for their time to launch. 

Poetry remains.

Author Maggie Smith tells Oprah Daily, "It’s been a claustrophobic year—our lives shrank considerably—but poetry is about expansiveness. During difficult times like these, I turn to poems to be reminded of all that is possible."

Writing poems is a way for me to play with words and learn new ones, a way to keep a diary of past events, and another way to imagine and retell stories I've heard and read about. 

Poetry is and will always be around. It gets us by, comforts us, helps us make sense of this mad life by way of words that mix ever so beautifully. 


About the author

Odyssa is a writer from the Philippines. She is the author of Like A New Sun Rising: A Collection of Poems on Love. When not working or writing at home, she's out walking their dogs. She enjoys traveling, practices yoga, gets lost in books and Korean drama. To her, making time for a daily practice or ritual is the best gift to one's self.

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