Do You Read Poetry?

Do you read poetry? I don’t. Almost never really.

That’s probably not cool to admit to. I kinda get poetry. But I don’t enjoy reading it.

Poetry was helpful to storytellers when committing their stories to memory. Their memory was all they had before books, printing presses, and other external storage methods came along.

Because poetry doesn’t speak to me, I don’t pursue it. I was exposed to it in school and didn’t really enjoy it then either. I love reading good prose, especially if it’s short and pithy. But if it’s not doing a good job of communicating to me I don’t read it either.

If the artist isn’t able to communicate to the viewer in a way that a viewer gets then the artist hasn’t done his job. That’s what got me thinking about poetry and how it doesn’t register with me.

Poetry for me feels sort of like another form of bad communication: jargon. Jargon takes away from my experience and understanding, which is sometimes the point. Why use Sanskrit names in yoga for people who don’t speak it. Or Latin in church. Or dead languages in general. Calling a posture an asana only adds mystery not clarity.

I get it that if you’re a scholar or need to communicate internationally with others at a high level, jargon could be useful.

The structures used in poems aren’t structures I encounter in my daily life communicating with others. Reading a poem is often jerky and just gets in the way of the poem’s idea or theme rather than enhancing the feeling or story being communicated.

When I think about it, I must not be alone in my lack of interest in poetry because I never hear about it from friends or acquaintances. I don’t mention to them that I don’t read poetry, the subject just never comes up.

Maybe I should start asking, “Do you read poetry?”