Well school has started up again. While I am overwhelmed with all the new classes, information, and assignments, there have been some interesting dicussions in the 5 short days I've been in class. I am in a Children's Literature class. We have a lengthly list of children's' books to read. While that all sounds wonderful, sweet, and easy, I had a feeling that there was much more to this class. Boy was I right.

The title of this post has an unexpected meaning. Metrophobia is the fear of poetry. People with this fear tend to dislike seeing, hearing or writing poems. Our first discussion in Children's Lit was about Poetry. Poetry makes most people cringe. I happen to love poetry, Emily Dickenson, and Shel Silverstein are my favorites. I know I am very in the minority though. In high school the groans were not disguised when the poetry unit came around. But why? That was the question posed in class last week. 

Poetry tends to have a negative cloud from adults to kids. Its kinda an endless cycle. But what's the big deal? Its just words, commonly rhyming words as well. We love things like nursery rhymes but thats where the love seems to end. My professor directed us to an interesting article to read for class. In this article they too wanted an answer.  I remember in high school the point of our poetry lesson was to find the poems "meaning," the hidden symbols. What the author really meant even if the poem seemed to be pretty cut and dry. The common complaints in my classes were "But this doesn't make any sense!" "Why don't they just say what they mean?" Sure we learned about parts of a poem, the meaning of stanzas and rhyme schemes but it was all about thinking about the poem, throughly and maybe even excessively. I think therein lies part of the issue. 

Poetry isn't about thinking necessarily. What is it about? Feeling. It is about how the words make you feel, how they give the poem emotion or feeling. But we think way too much. The whole point of the education system isn't necessarily about the information you are learning but about learning how to think critically, problem solving. Poetry, while it has meaning and symbols in it, doesn't really fit in that mold. It isn't always meant to be dissected. It was written with a great deal of emotion behind it and should be read in that mindset. Many times there isn't much more to it than what's on the paper. That's the beauty of it. Sure, maybe sometimes dissecting and finding the hidden symbols is a bit interesting and maybe fun, but if that's really all that great then why is poetry so unpopular? I think if we went into a different mindset and attitude when teaching and reading poetry we might enjoy and appreciate it much more. We just may pass that appreciation on and maybe help stop Metrophobia. :)


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