Why my husband and other normal Earthlings hate poetry

Or, What is it about Poetry that stinks? (round 1)

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He’s known for over 26 years I write poetry.

In fact, before we were married, one of the first things I dragged him to was the annual literary banquet at our community college. The instructors had voted my Shakespearean sonnet the winner of all the writing submissions and I needed a companion to attend the banquet with me.

He didn’t fool me, though. I knew he agreed to go just for the free meal, but that was okay. I didn’t want to be there alone with all those scary literary people. So, if his head was bowed to the roast beef and balsamic carrots, even if he didn’t say a word, I was okay with that. In fact, I probably encouraged him to snarf down my plate of food, too, so he wouldn’t say a word.

To me or to anyone.

After pretending to eat, I made a beeline for the Ladies Room. I prefer to believe that this was a moment of divine intervention. I didn’t know it then, but someone had talked the drama department into giving readings of each submitted poem.

When I stepped back into the hall, (miraculously missing the reading of my poem) I saw the Mister waving me in while the MC announced my name. I weaved my way around the monster tables and up to the podium hoping that I was all zipped and hooked and I casually (yes, I’m lying) accepted my award.

Then, he handed me something besides my ribbon—my very first check for writing. They told me it was so I could officially call myself a published poetess. If I even knew what that was, I didn’t feel like whatever a poetess should feel like.

The Beginnings

My heart had always leaned towards songwriting. I played guitar. I guess I was kind of natural because I just took it up on my own when I was . . . oh, about junior. high. Not that I was great, but when the blue clouds hovered over me, I picked up my guitar and wrote a song, when the day was smiling on me, I picked up my guitar and wrote a song, when I broke up with . . . yes, I wrote a song.

So, I kept with the song writing thing all during college, then the kids came and I wrote goofy songs, and then this homeschooling gig came along and we sang patriotic songs and the President’s song, and the preposition song, and the multiplication song.

For the most part, though, the music and writing were my sanctuary and I pretty much kept it to myself other than playing at church on occasion. I don’t think that makes me a poetess or songwriter or writer.

During this time, the real poetry rotted in my journals, scattered and untouched. But, it was still me, a part of me and he—the Mister—has pretty much ignored this part of my life. And I kind of got to scratching my head about it since launching this blog. Why wouldn’t he just take a peak?

Along the same lines, I have to ask why even my friends react with an UGH! when I ask them to stop by my poetry blog. UGH?

Okay, I can accept that my friends might not want to share in my expressive regurgitations, but my own Mister?

The answers

While I was lounging in my jammies one night with a lovely cup of rice milk (dairy allergy)I pondered this riddle and came up with three reasonable reasons why he won’t read my poetry or blog— he hates me, he hates reading, and therefore he hates poetry.

One thing I have learned this year, thanks to some disturbing incidents, is that my perspective is not always right. So, I decided that I would take the advice of another mister and just ask my Mister directly.

Now, I know one of the rules written in the Good Wife Journal is that the little woman is not supposed to pose hard questions to her husband when he has just returned home from work, he’s reading the mail, or he’s about to take out the trash.

So, I waited until the opportune time—during the Bull’s game.

Yes, he huffed. But then, without even breaking into a sweat, he answered the question quite succinctly.

· One, he doesn’t understand it.

· Two, it doesn’t make sense or he’s too stupid to understand it. (he said it, not me.)

· And three, it’s boring.

Then he expounded on his answers, which I didn’t expect. He said “something in his brain just never clicked with poetry.”

He added that I “need to remember his brain doesn’t click with the whole English language.” When he was a kid, he didn’t remember other than a couple of times anybody ever writing it or pushing it in school. “The nuns either didn’t teach poetry or I slept through those lessons.”

Those were his words almost verbatim (hence, the quotation marks.) I almost understood all of them. So, I guess we scored a point on the communication issue. (hint: why I didn’t want him talking at the banquet.)

To boot, I got a glimpse of what the rest of the world must think about poetry. It all boils down to these four statements:

1. They don’t understand it.

2. It doesn’t make sense.

3. They are “too stupid” to understand it.

4. And it’s boring.

I have a few gripes (thoughts) about all of them, particularly number three and I’ll take that up next time. But, for now, if you have family and friends that don’t frolic in the poetic world, do you know why? Do their reasons differ from my list?

I’d love to add them to my master list.

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I selected this post to be featured on my blog’s page at Poetry Blogs.
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7 thoughts on “Why my husband and other normal Earthlings hate poetry

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  4. 6. Their 10th grade English teacher destroyed all possibility of enjoying poetry. This is one of my reasons for attempting to bring people back to it afresh, when they can be encouraged to find something pleasurable about the whole experience. I cannot recall who said this, but I like the idea, “A poet’s purpose is to help people enjoy their everyday lives.” Nose-in-the-air-difficult-philosophical-clap-trap does not help to do this. Nobody likes to be looked down on, so no wonder so many people hate poetry.

    • I love your attitude about bringing poetry back so everyone can enjoy it. It saddens me that teachers have and do ruin it for their students. I think you gave me two more reasons or rather excuses people use to avoid poetry all together. Thanks for your insight.

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