Why people don’t like poetry?


This essay is inspired by some of the recent comments in this post. And it made me think: why  people really don’t like poetry? What is it that keeps them away from maybe not writing, but from reading some really exquisite pieces by poets from all around the world?

The usual answer is something like “Poetry is boring”, “I don’t understand it”, “It’s a waste of time”. So I wanted to explore this topic a bit further.

If we look more deeply around us, we can notice that people have very little time to appreciate art in general. This fast paced, consumer oriented society has trained us to want everything now and here. An instant satisfaction, an instant thrill, an instant experience: not allowing our biological system to perceive with all its senses; truly absorb our emotions and simply feel.

Life usually demands of us high level of practicality, logical and factual thinking in order for us to be functional and productive on a day to day basis. It’s very noticeable in how we are doing business and science. But where are the boundaries? Have we lost our human touch? In our lives when everything is so exact and explicit we have erased some of the basic human traits: ability to feel and empathize. We cannot treat our most intimate relationships, families and ourselves like we are on a business meeting and signing a business contract.

And there is this soft spot where poetry likes to ‘poke’ you. It demands something different from you. It demands your whole being to respond: if you try logically to analyze a poem, it will take you nowhere; if you search for shortcuts, you will be lost; if you need answers, probably you will be disappointed.

A poem is a journey that allows you to escape from typical factual thinking and forces you to question everything: instead of searching for answers on the outside, you need to look deep inside of you.

There lies the true value of poetry – especially for business leaders, as it can be seen as an antidote to typical business interpretations:

  • poem is associative rather than factual thinking;
  • poem enforces abstract thinking in comparison to deductive thinking.

Like Clare Morgan implies in “What poetry brings to business”:

reading poetry generates conceptual spaces that maybe different from the spaces usually approached in business and life in general.

As poetry is letting yourself to get familiar with the unknown – it shouldn’t instill fear of ambiguity and uncertainty, but rather to be seen as a vehicle, attractive mystical longing that can transcend us across those conceptual spaces and offer different modes of interpretation: a sure way to enrich our creativity in all aspects of our lives.

I ask them to take a poem
and hold it up to the light
like a color slide

or press an ear against its hive.

I say drop a mouse into a poem
and watch him probe his way out,

or walk inside the poem’s room
and feel the walls for a light switch.

I want them to waterski
across the surface of a poem
waving at the author’s name on the shore.

But all they want to do
is tie the poem to a chair with rope
and torture a confession out of it.

They begin beating it with a hose
to find out what it really means.

Billy Collins

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316 thoughts on “Why people don’t like poetry?

  1. My first visit here and I leave enriched. I like your expression of poetry poking the reader and demanding something different. I think the spot from which that different thing comes from is in danger of filling up with emojis and selfies and other stuff from the outside meant to express our thoughts without thinking. The Billy Collins poem you shared is beautiful. I’d never read it. It is a wise whisper for me to be mindful of meaning and patience.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. SO TRUE. Thank you for posting this. I started writing poetry after the eighth grade. Middle school were the roughest years of my life… so far. But when I got out I was left with both relief and I guess in a way a sadness about how everything all went down. I then started to rhyme and it wasn’t from literature it was from music, you don’t have to be inspired mainly by literature/poetry to actually write poetry and soon it became addictive. I started to write more and more each and every day I woke up. Then it went from being a journal about my feelings into a passion. An actual calling. I give thanks to poetry for letting me release my feelings and my art and just letting me free.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Poetry takes skill, and can convey a strong message. Not all poetry rhymes, but musicians/singers, such as hip-hop artists are also technically writing poetry. I think poetry is awesome and forces people to think outside of the box.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Only some can understands its beauty.!Its hard to go inside the depth of any great poem! If you have lived life with its every essence then surely you will fall in love with poetry!!
    Must read blog..I loved it.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Why can’t prose lift the veil? Besides which, both are skilled enough to to add veils. Raising the veil is no guarantee of seeing beauty – it could equally well be repulsive ugliness.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. As in one of my previous comments I wrote, poetry has many faces and realities as there are people reading it. It also depends what you consider beauty. Finding answers to my deep questions may not be beautiful in their pure sense (but rather dark and cold) but there is a beauty in the process. I do believe that it comes to what you are looking for. If you want you can find and see beauty.
      Thank you for reading the post an participating in the conversation 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

  6. Poetry is an acquired hobby. I remember feeling so frustrated in class reading poetry because there were no answers. You cannot plug something right in front of your eyes to get an exact answer; poetry is so abstract and ambiguous. Fully understand the depth of great poetry requires reading it over and over again, then waiting a few hours and reading it again, and then it hits you hard in the face like a wave. Poetry is a pain in ass and also a way a finding a deeper part of ourselves.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. You need to be patient and kind towards yourself. Poetry also teaches you to love and appreciate not only the person who wrote a poem, but also your innerself, to find a meaning that is looking for. Thank you for reading the post and participating in the conversation 🙂

      Liked by 3 people

  7. hey liked your post a lot… good one… the best thing about poetry is that a word can hold as many meanings as many times you read it and poems connect you with the closest soul in the world. Love those people who can write, read and understand!

    Liked by 2 people

  8. – I know nothing of rules… nor care of them… I failed miserably in English, French, Math, but abound in Life…
    For If we cannot feel’ we cannot understand Poetry nor Life.

    – Us and they’ oh yes’ and Poets…

    What they fail to see’ is if I fail to poem for them’ is that they’ are as we are, and that is all the same’ and all we can be’ no one is above or below another’ we all achieve’ and we weep’ we do gasp’ and we fly within our dreams’ we are all souls within vessels’ vessels in a state of constant changing motion. Or’, or perhaps’ I should just remain as a closet poet’ and observe’ life’ and breathe’ the air we all share…

    – The Rotation of the Earth…

    – We all are traveling at over a 1000 miles per hour’ and yet we have such perfect’ hair’ have we not?

    Wolfram Raven Poe aka Brock Buildersteel’.

    Thank you for you post

    Liked by 3 people

  9. Its very true. We live in world where success is based on achieving shortcuts. We receive information all the time directly and subliminally directing us to preconceived truths and realities so as to find a shortcut to wherever we want to go or whatever we want to do, and worst of all whatever we want to feel. It helps us do more things and do them quickly but it also helps us to do them badly. Like a pre peeled orange its all nice and practical but we lose the senses, the colour of the skin, its texture and the scent and tang of the zest as we peel it.

    Liked by 3 people

  10. When I saw the title of your post in my email, I thought, “People don’t like poetry because requires them to thinking deeper than what they see before their eyes.” You are right. We have become a society of instant gratification; wanting everything now, now, now, like spoiled children. Poetry requires us to connect our minds with our inner emotions. With humans spending most of their time being reactionary and feeding only on what is laid perfectly before them, like an killer whale being fed at sea world, it’s easy to understand why people don’t like poetry. They’re just not in tune enough with what matters from without as well as within.

    Liked by 3 people

  11. Excellent post and the title itself is so inviting…

    I always try to write poems but I fail as its not my forte. But I think poetry is simple and easy to convey our message. One of my co-writer who excused herself on her day of delivering a poem for my webzine and I had to try it that day…. Now I am thinking I should write it often.

    Thanks for inspiring.

    Liked by 3 people

  12. Perhaps this interesting question is really “what is the point of poetry”, and the answer nowadays is “it doesn’t have a point,” which in a world of busy necessity is a relief. But that might not be the whole story. We should remember that once upon a time, poetry did have a clear point. In the days before writing, people used poetry to both recall information and protect it. Imagine you have a list of words you need to remember but have no way of writing them down. If you take your list and arrange words so that, for example, they fall into a pleasing rhythm, the list will be easier to remember. We still use mnemonics to help us recall things. However, whenever people value information they also want to protect it. So if you were creating your rhythmical list you might want to include some kind of secret code, offering protection for your information. You end up with a form of language relying on patterns and tricks to put words together in memorable ways, even as other tricks are used to keep the meaning of those words hidden from casual passers by. I think this little bit of history tells us a lot about poetry as we know it today.

    Liked by 3 people

  13. I love poetry..with all my heart..
    Poetry which I can relate to and completely feel..
    I may not understand it all..but I appreciate it and taste it..maybe it’s because I’m a literature grad myself..
    People who have no time for a good poem..are people who do not know how a good coffee taste..
    Thnx for sharing this post!

    Liked by 1 person

  14. “A poem is a journey that allows you to escape from typical factual thinking and forces you to question everything: instead of searching for answers on the outside, you need to look deep inside of you.” I love the concept of how reading poems is the journey to the inner self. Thank you for sharing!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I do believe once we create art and release it into the world, it has a life of it’s own. I think that the artist or poet doesn’t have that obligation to explain himself. Every one has to find that value and appreciation. You never know how your writing might touch someone or inspire. That’s why we need to share our work and contribute to community 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I do encourage people to write, because benefits are immense. But I will never judge on the quality of work. We should write for our own sake, that’s the only thing that matter. Quality and craft improves and changes with time.

        Liked by 1 person

  15. I personally am not very great at writing so I generally use poetry instead. I’m a very musical person so finding words that rhyme is easier than writing a good sentence. Poetry is also fantastic when you struggle with getting the story to move smoothly.
    P.S. Lovely post!

    Liked by 2 people

  16. Poetry helps you to get connected to your own self.It’s not that people carry negative emotions rewarding poetry…. just that they are ignorant….. they don’t get the real essence of poerty….

    Liked by 2 people

  17. I have always felt there is a mysterious stigma attached to poetry, which makes all of its proprietors a little vulnerable to ridicule from those people who come up with the statements you list early on, such as ‘poetry is boring’. It is an art form which doesn’t receive the love and attention it deserves, which is perhaps due to a lack of understanding.

    Liked by 2 people

  18. Thank you for your thoughts regarding this thing. Well, as for me, poetry or poems are really great. And yeah, they are more likely to come out and be understand by feelings or empathy. In this busy world, poetry/poems makes our inner self feel the real sensation of living. It’s something that can really make you connect to a deep serenity with you. 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

  19. Pardon je suis française, et je comprend mieux l’anglais que je ne l’écris ^^
    C’est une très juste et brillante analyse, cependant elle n’apporte pas de réelle solution au problème du manque d’amour des gens pour la poésie. Si on considère que c’est un problème, il faut y remédier. Mais peut être est ce un peu prétentieux de le vouloir, de se sentir capable de le faire… je ne sais pas ^^ j’ai passé en tout cas un bon moment et jai travaillé ma langue ! Merci 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Well thanks to google translate I understood what you wrote as I don’t speak French. I never stated that I knew the solution. This post is intended to be just a start of conversation and see what people think about it. I believe that what we can do is to educate people and promote benefits of poetry, what I’m doing with my blog. Thanks for reading my post, anyway 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  20. Poem expressed thousands of word in few seconds bcuz when m happy i read poem when m sad then also i read poem but now the time ppl expressing their word without any meaning n waste their timings

    Liked by 3 people

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