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A Modern Defense of Poetry

December 23rd, 2008 Leave a comment Go to comments

My mother and I were in pursuit of a charming antique lamp suitable for my living quarters, when we came across the notorious Victoria N. Artifactus. She not only enlightened us on her passion for collecting antiques, but afforded us a piece of her mind’s love by showing us the possessions that she held to be most precious. It was true; her possessions were those of a queen. She spoke freely and told my mother and me of the importance of antiques and how they told us the life stories of our great ancestors. The intent was not to tell a historical or biographical life, but rather to paint a story of their active life. She argued that her passion created a portrait of our great past. Had I not been that of a passionate man myself, I fear I would have considered her to be a little over the top. However, as the words of Artifactus are of weak argument, they are of a strong passion. So, if these words do not satisfy you as a credible argument, allow me to present my own. By some mischance, my passion of poesy has fallen into my lap and I feel it is impossible to withhold my story from you, as my pen will not cease to stop writing. Be patient with me as my passion is of no choice and can at times seems overwhelming. My words are simply flowing onto the paper and I know not what I write. Therefore, similar to Artifactus’s need to defend antiques, I must defend the timeless art of poesy. These rather uneducated persons of today’s time slander the name of poesy and question its credibility as quality entertainment. Today’s looming entertainment trends are depriving our current and future generations from learning the sheer necessity of poesy and its benefits.

Poetry, being of the utmost form of communication, ranks far more superior than other studies that attempt to capture our mind’s methods of communicating. I feel it necessary to defend my life’s passion by placing it before one of my greatest competitors. By doing so, if I can show that we, the poets, have a positive effect on society’s forms of open communication we may be able to defend ourselves against the pending accusations of today’s accusers who claim poesy to be false or exaggerated emotions. 

The Psychologist’s life goal is to study the mind and its mechanics. He performs test after test and asks question after question in order to develop his theories on why we do what we do and say what we say. Upon examining his work, it seems that communication is his only method of initially assessing a patient’s flaws as well as determining the patients improvement or lack there of. After all, without a patient communicating his or her problem, would he not be out of work? While it is commendable that he promotes open communication between his patients and their loved ones, I condemn him because he does not recognize that it is poetry the lies at the basis of his studies. Allow me to explain. If a married couple were to enter his office, does he not advise them to slip into role-playing in order to convey their true feelings to one another? Furthermore, does he not play a game of word association where a he produces a stimulus and the patient elicits a response? For instance, if he says the word “love” the patient is supposed to speak their mind freely on the feelings stimulated by that particular word. These two methods of developing better communication are simply the foundation that the art of writing poesy is based upon.

This practice of psychology seems foolish when you consider that the true underlying method of this “healing process” is poetry at its rawest. Poetry is overwhelming feelings, emotions and everyday situations released by the author and poured onto the paper. To say that poetry is false is to say every other form of communicating emotions is false. Perhaps that same married couple could sit in the comfort of their own home and write down their true feelings. Is this not more meaningful as well as healing? Is assuming a persona in a poem not the same as role-playing? During the time that it takes to write a poem do the thoughts not become more developed and clearer rather than speaking words the may be rash and sometimes harsh? It is clear that poetry does not contain exaggerated emotions but rather emotions that can no longer be trapped inside of the author. To add to my defense, I examine the game of word association. A psychologist may ask a patient what thoughts come to their mind when he says the word, “love.” Now, in a typical English classroom, I believe it would not be unlikely to see the teacher presenting the same type of prompts to her students. Often, a teacher will write a question on the board and ask her students to write a response. Aren’t these prompts the very things that stimulate us to write a poem? Whether it is a particular word, a sunny day or a loved one’s face, it only takes one stimulus to provoke feelings and a desire to communicate these feelings on paper. Therefore the psychologist has copied the poet’s methods of writing poetry and has claimed them as being his own healing powers.

Let it be said that poesy is of the utmost form of communicating. No other form of literature conveys such true and raw emotions as poetry. Nor does any other form lead the reader to use their mind to analyze characters, plots, rhyme schemes and tone. Poesy stimulates the mind to be imaginative and critical. With this being said, I do recognize that there can be other forms, though inferior, of presenting literature as entertainment. For instance the development of the picture tube and picture shows have their positive sides as well as their downfalls. Let us begin with the downfalls since I am here to promote the art of poesy and not the art of mindless entertainment. The senseless sitcoms that America has become so accustomed to are purely idiotic. As any good poet knows, a work of literature cannot always present a problem and a solution all wrapped up nicely in one half hour’s time. The viewers of these shows often sit in a dumbfounded catatonic state, waiting for their brain to receive some type of positive stimuli. The brain is not being encouraged to think and analyze as it is with poetry. This is presumably because all of the information has already been laid out for the viewer. Therefore, the viewer need not analyze the show nor must he discuss it with anyone else, as it does not require further discussion. Instead, the only stimulus the brain receives is when the commercial arrives and they come out of their catatonic state to use the restroom.

However, for those who aspire to actively imitate the art of great authors by way of the big screen, I give them my support. If a particularly inspired individual wishes to read poetry or literature and present it in a way that the audience can both learn and be stimulated by the material, I feel that it is commendable. The movie thinks, analyzes and develops the characters as well as the setting to artfully represent the great author, Thomas Hardy’s great novel. This version of entertainment can lead to discussions of character development by stimulating the brain and causing it to reflect on what the viewer recollects from the prior reading. Reading the material of course is necessary to fully respect the artist’s take on the poem or novel. Therefore, if the art of entertainment by way of picture screen reflects that of great authors and stimulates the mind to think and promotes communication by way of discussions, then I feel the art of poesy has been defended.

As a defender of poesy I find myself facing a particular accusation against my passion. That is, that reading poetry is a waste of time. For that complaint, I want to stress the impact that poesy has had on communication amongst friends, family and possibly even enemies. The very act of writing poetry encourages the release of feelings and emotions onto paper and out of the body. If this were not important then why do we feel it so necessary to sometimes talk to ourselves or run to a trusted friend to get certain feelings off of our chests? The human is designed to communicate with others and tell them of our feelings and emotions. We may also look to our scholars to further advance this argument that poesy encourages communication. Do we not sometimes hear our superior scholars quoting poetry to convey some point of theirs? Do they not refer to the great authors to further express the curriculum? And what Hallmark card is complete without some love poem written nicely inside? Poetry and references to poetry are all around us. Reading and writing poetry is the very way that we, as humans, communicate with each other. It allows us to reach within ourselves and relate our feelings with those being expressed in the poem. To say that poetry is a waste of time is to say that all forms of language and expression are a waste of time.

So that since the wonderful poesy is superior to all forms of entertainment and contains the heart of communication. Since psychology only mocks poetry’s beauty and wisdom; since, lastly, the blames laid against it are from the mindless uneducated individuals who are incapable of comprehending it; I apologize to anyone that has read this five-page time wasting babble of mine. However, I do request that these words be taken into consideration and that the mockery of poetry and its importance cease to ring in my ear. Believe that poetry will enhance your mind and lead you to a greater expression of yourself. As the great Shakespeare states, with poetry “you should live twice, in it and in my rhyme.”

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