When confronted with a poetry syllabus, students are often overwhelmed by the tasks ahead of them. Complex poetic forms, obscure terms, strange patterns of speech, and archaic allusions are all part of learning about poetry.
You might find yourself asking why poetry is important, and why should we take the time to learn about poetry when it doesn’t play an active role in most people’s lives? In essence, what’s the point?
Well, when it comes to poetry, there are a few reasons why you should consider it an important part of your life.
First and foremost, some of the greatest literary accomplishments, in all languages and cultures, have been achieved in the poetic form. Many of the world’s most important writers, from John Milton to William Shakespeare and Anton Chekhov to Rabindranath Tagore, all did their greatest work in the form of poetry.
Without taking the time to understand the ins and outs of the genre, you will miss out on some of the best writing that literature has to offer.
Second, poetry offers readers an insight into a writer’s mind, life, and contemporary moment that other forms of writing don’t. Often, writers imbue their poetic works with emotions and experiences based on their own lives. That could be anything from John Milton writing about going blind in ‘On His Blindness’ to Sylvia Plath exploring her relationship with her father in ‘Daddy.’
Readers who at first doubted the benefits of reading poetry might find themselves connecting to poets, and their work in a way they didn’t think was possible.
Thirdly, poetry is creative in a way that other literary genres are not. Fiction and drama allow writers a great deal of freedom, but poetry is boundless. Writers can set their own rules in the form of the rhyme scheme and meter or choose to ignore convention and write in free verse, or even write a concrete poem.
In poetry, readers will find writers pushing themselves to the limits of their ability while also imbuing their writing with an emotive quality that may not be present in that same writer’s fiction or drama work.
Lastly, readers should consider the benefits of reading a genre of literature that is inspired by aesthetics. While not all poets consider aesthetics while writing, many do.
The best-loved poems of all time are regarded for the beautiful and memorable lines their authors imbued them with. Pieces like Edgar Allan Poe’s ‘Annabel Lee,’ JohnKeats’ ‘Ode to a Nightingale,’ and Emily Dickinson’s ‘Hope is the thing with feathers’ are only a few examples. These poems are moving and memorable. They are meant to evoke a particular feeling in the reader and have lasted throughout the centuries because of how successfully the writers did so.
In conclusion, poetry is important because:
All of these features make reading, learning, and thinking about poetry worthwhile.