It’s time to revisit our Earthling vs. Weird Poet chat.
Let’s review the reasons “normal earthlings” don’t read poetry:
1. They don’t understand it.
2. It doesn’t make sense.
3. They are “too stupid” to understand it. (Not my words.)
4. And it’s boring.
5. Poetry takes time—they’re short, but require contemplation.
6. Their 10th grade English teacher destroyed all possibility of enjoying poetry.
7. Lots of poetry seems like “nose-in-the-air-difficult-philosophical-clap-trap.”
8. Nobody likes to be looked down on.
Today I’m going to harken back to number six on our list why normal earthlings don’t read poetry.
Who has time for poetry?
“Poetry takes time – they’re short, but require contemplation – and nobody has time.” says ericmwebb.
Now, Eric is a student of poetry. According to his blog, he’s in his second year of a Poetry MFA at Old Dominion. That’s pretty classy.
And a bold statement—nobody has time.
Yet, last I heard, we all have the same amount of time in a day. For most of us our time is used up by the responsible stuff of life—work, sleeping, snacking, driving, cooking, hanging up on telemarketers, attempts at pretending to exercise, personal hygiene, kid stuff—for the mom’s who have endured the blessedly agonizing throes of childbirth and for the dads who made that a reality.
The rest of the hours or minutes we devote to what we want to do. Mostly, that involves not thinking, unless you are a fan of Sudoku. Usually most of us are just tired.
Perhaps, Eric has it right. Who in their right mind would choose to read a poem and ponder it when we can passively be entertained by what my mother used to call the “The idiot box?”
Me, for one.
I like my idiot box. I like my “RAM, CPU, GPU, USB” box, too.
How much time do I spend with these two boxes?
A LOT. A REAL LOT.
Am I an idiot then? (Say it isn’t so, Mom.)
Yet, in my teensy allotted time here on earth, I take the time to read a poem or thirty/day. My daughter sews or crafts, another daughter collects recipes and runs, my son plays video games, my husband . . . oh yeah, he’s an idiot box guy.
We’re given time to use as we wish.
It’s all about choice. Most choose something other than savoring a passionate delectable poem.
I’ll get back to the Contemplate word in the next post.
Who wants to think?
But, we need to add a ninth one that goes with number six.
In response to this conversation, Zongrik.com wrote that “Poetry was ruined for the masses when the masses stopped wanting to think.” (She’s an an aerospace engineer. I take what she says very seriously.)
This is a really loaded statement. I don’t use really a lot. But, this is really loaded. Let’s turn it around. The masses stopped wanting to think therefore poetry is ruined.
In my initial post on this topic, I mentioned that my husband doesn’t read poetry. One reason he gave was that he decided he was too stupid to understand it. Hear the cynicism in that statement? It’s unsettling. This is not a stupid man. He can add numbers faster than a calculator.
There’s a silly sign hanging around Facebook that reads: “How I see Math word problems: If you have four pencils and I have seven apples, how many pancakes will fit on the roof? My answer: Purple, because aliens don’t wear hats.” I am not ashamed to confess that for me math is little like the sludge in the bottom of a hot water tank. You could stir it up inside my brain and it will still just be sludge.
I don’t want to think about math. But, because our world revolves around order, I have to. At least the basics. But, I have a calculator for that sort of thing. I don’t have to think too much.
And the Mister, because he’s a married man, must venture into the world of poetry only two times a year—my birthday and Mother’s Day. But he just needs to take a trip to Walgreen’s, close his eyes in the card aisle and pick one. Anyone. I once got one that said, “Belated Sympathy.” I appreciated his sentiments. Hallmark did the work for him. He doesn’t have to think.
Who helped us not to think?
Technology? Poets who sell their poems to card companies? Has our not thinking ruined poetry for us? Or was poetry ruined for the masses?
Or did culture ruin poetry for the masses? Or . . .
is there just too much competition for our thinking time?