Poetry Today

Staff Writer: Orian Johnson

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Photo from libwww.library.org

There’s a lot of cynicism in today’s society, and while it’s always been present, it’s much more prevalent considering how much more vocal we are. People are much quicker to criticize rather than praise when it comes to any medium of self expression. For a quick, easy example, check the comment section of virtually any video on YouTube, there are comments criticizing the content, calling the creator a sellout for monetizing videos, people will even go for the low hanging fruit and attack their looks. The worst part is that’s one small aspect of modern society’s inherently more critical nature. The focus of this article, however, is the effect this has on poetry and the stigma it’s created about the art form. As a fan and writer of poetry myself, I’ve experienced firsthand the way people react when you mention that you enjoy reading or writing poetry. The reactions are usually something along the lines of a sarcastic or apprehensive “Oh, okay.” Those reactions are born from the cynicism of today that tells us poetry is for “edgy” young teenagers who don’t understand their feelings, or poetry for that matter; and the stigma about men writing poetry is a totally different story. People look down on poetry with a sort of: “You’re trying too hard to be deep” attitude when they don’t understand. What they don’t understand is poetry is an outlet for emotions that can create a wealth of emotions in the reader. From use of intricate symbolism to vivid imagery, or even visual poems like Grasshopper by E.E. Cummings, poetry is more than just some angry words a 14 year old with a basic understanding of English wrote down in their journal because they were sad. I hope that any of you reading aren’t so discouraged that you don’t put your works out there for others to see. Poetry is an excellent, viable means of self expression, and no amount of sarcastic remarks or confused looks should make you think otherwise.