Everyone Needs a Little Poetry




When I tell people that April is National Poetry Month, I often get frowns, eye rolls, or shrugs accompanied by the phrase, “ I don’t like poetry.” My response to this is, “Really? Then you just haven’t found the right poems.”


I believe that saying you don’t like poetry is like saying you don’t like music. Everyone has at least one type of music that they enjoy, whether it’s reggae, to rock to chamber music. I have many that I listen to depending on my mood: classic rock, jazz, classical, show tunes, Big Band, New Age and Christian music. Sometimes I like instrumental songs and at other times I want something I can sing along to.


Poetry is the same. There are many kinds of poetry as well, from Haiku, to Sonnets to Free-Verse, just to name a few. If you think you don’t like poetry, then you just haven’t found the right form or poet yet. Poetry is word-music. When you discover poems you like, they sing into your soul just like great songs.


People have an idea that poetry is high-brow and filled with all kinds of mysterious meaning. This comes from well intentioned English teachers dragging us painfully through poems line-by-line looking for the metaphors or symbolism. Poems were and are not written to be dissected; they are meant to be read in entirety for pure enjoyment and for the shared human experience that is conveyed in the poet’s words. Poets, after all, are using their work to  try and make sense of the world, just like the rest of us.


The other misconception about poetry is that its scope is limited to certain topics or themes that are not of modern interest. Not true! Poetry can be about anything. My new favorite poetry collection is Dog Songs, by Mary Oliver. Yes, the entire collection is all about dogs. How cool is that?


How do you find poetry you like? Go on a search, with an open mind. Look on the internet, browse in a library or bookstore. Read lots of poems. If you don’t like or connect with one poet, try another, and another, until you find someone whose way of looking at the world resonates with you.


Everyone needs a little poetry.