Poetry is art. Not a frog.

I’m a lover of words…writing them, reading them, hearing them…

And while I do not write as oft as I should, I do still consider myself a poet.

So it may surprise some to hear that one of the most difficult classes I ever had in college was a Poetry and Drama class!

The thorn in my side, if you will, was the damn “Poetry Explication” assignments.

I mean really..sight rhymes, slant rhymes, alliteration, assonance, onomatopoeia,  stressed and unstressed syllables, feet, meter, simile, metaphor, personification, hyperbole, understatement, etc., etc… and on and on…


Poetry is art and passion…it sings to the soul so why should I dissect someone’s work as if it were a frog? Who am I?

Some may think that is ridiculous but I felt and still do feel strongly about it.

I actually wrote a five-page paper for that class explaining why I would not, could not complete one of the assigned explications.

The teacher was not to happy (but I think she secretly respected me for it…).

So my advice…Read for yourself, think for yourself… What did the poem make you think?  What did it make you FEEL?

–Rant over.

~Melanie Blackwell


Filed under Poetry, Rants

18 responses to “Poetry is art. Not a frog.

  1. Bendo the Damager

    Honestly, I don’t get poetry. Read a lot of it in school, never did anything for me. But I am very happy to see that you are writing, as I am sure you are. Keep it up and I will keep reading it, even if I think it makes no sense. \m/

  2. My poetry refuses to be dissected. It’s not so much a laboratory frog as a roadkill toad.

  3. Reblogged this on Wordifull and commented:

    Another reblog for National Poetry Month.

    I think that the way poetry is sometimes taught and studied turns people off poetry.

    YES, I do sometimes follow poetry forms. YES, I do like some of the classics.
    BUT to me poetry is more about the expression, the emotion, the imagery.

  4. M. Zane McClellan

    I think the most technically correct poem fails if it evokes no feeling in the reader. That’s usually the result of being no feeling when the poet wrote it. Perfect Iambic Pentameter can still result in lousy poetry, in my humble opinion. Stick to your guns Melanie. Paece. ~ Michael

  5. bgbowers

    I love this, and couldn’t agree more, Melanie. My poetry paper at Uni was diabolical – the lecturer & tutor had set ideas about what a poem was (and my ideas were totally different). They (the class & tutors didn’t like my poetry, nor did they relate – they said things like “it’s too strong” blah blah! Personally, I thought their poetry lacked soul & substance… By the end of the class, I had rebelled against every single assignment & my confidence was on the floor. I stopped writing poetry after that & didn’t start again until I started my blog in May last year (7 yrs).

    Will you share this story/post on my blog next week? Or maybe this week?
    Pretty please 🙂

    • Oh, you had that too?! I was told my writing was “too abrasive, to harsh” Th only things I wrote that they liked were pretty much imitations of “the greats”…and i hated them.

      blah! I’m sorry you stopped writing ANd so happy you started again because you are amazing!

      I wasn’t even thinking you might want to use this…I was going to write something new…but if you would like you can post it anytime you want. Do you need me to do anything?

      • bgbowers

        Yes, I got that too. Blah!
        I’m glad they didn’t put you off, either, what muppets 😉
        Thank you & no you don’t need to do anything. I might start the 2nd week with this 😀

  6. Amen to that! I have nothing against learning about different styles of poetry, but I think that analyzing it too much destroys the whole purpose. It should leave you with a feeling, a message or just simply open up new ideas or opinions in your mind. Poetry is art created from many pieces. What gives us the right to take someone’s creation apart?
    Great post.

  7. nokindofmagic

    I had an amazing teacher in high school, we’ve read so much poetry, yet she gave us a lecture on theory just once, during one of our first lessons. The rest was all about juggling thoughts and discovering weird connections. And then my first Uni came and those &$^Y!s made me hate literature for about three years. And then they kicked me out, so in the end I won 😀

  8. laurie27wsmith

    I think I may have been blessed by not going to high school by the sound of it Melanie. I’ve only read the stuff I wanted to. As far as dissecting other people’s poetry, there’s no right or wrong answers. I guess it’s how it makes you feel.

  9. I couldn’t agree more. Perfect. Think for yourself. Read for yourself and there are no rules.

  10. Melanie,

    I heart this so much…I want to jump up and down and wave a little flag that says, “My poetry is art! Not a frog!” (I collect frogs…strangely enough) I was thinking some of the very things you are writing, just yesterday-and felt caged. I was so joyful, in finding this post in your blog today.

    I have been researching in the last few days, publishing options, contests and entries…and so forth. In doing so, I felt deflated. I had taken similar classes in college, and felt my creativity suffocated by the rigid institutionalization of poetic form. It feels similar to a struggle I am going through right now-with people telling me, that I “must” because it is expected.

    Poetry is an art form. There is creative expression in paint, why do we restrict poetry to such a degree? Are the words of my poems not brush strokes? The inner story of my mind told in stanza, instead of paint?

    I consider my poetry, more of a narrative type-and I have, for the most part just been writing what I feel. I know I am a capable writer. If my poetry, your poetry, does not fall within someone else’s idea of what it should be-it is simply their belief. Your imagination, expressed through poems, is yours. It should not be scoffed at or lessened…simply because it did not conform to antiquated notions of what poetry is.

    I say, bugger that. I never really liked conforming anyways. Write what you feel.

    I watch myself, sometimes counting-measuring…attempting to follow the rules, and then I realize, what i wanted to say won’t fit. So I just say “frak that” and write it anyways.

    Wave that flag. I’ll wave it too.



    • Reading your heartfelt comments here was so gratifying. Thank you so much and yes let us wave the flag proudly. Poetry is art! Rules be damned!

      You know many whose words touch me deeply have had similar experiences with having their work poo-pooed. So that, to me, completely invalidates those opinions. If it stirs my soul that is all that is needed.

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