I confess I don’t get a lot of poetry

September 12, 2020 by Joshua
in Art, Creativity

I’m reading a book of poetry a friend just published. I like a few poems—generally the big ones like Ozymandias and Sonnet 116. I haven’t read much Whitman, but occasionally a work of his has drawn me in and enthralled me. The year I lived in Paris I saw a live performance of Rimbaud’s Une Saison en Enfer in French, though my French wasn’t great so it lost me quickly. I posted almost eight years ago a poem I’ve loved since college, In the sea of Iwami by Kakinomoto Hitomaro.

I’ve liked plenty of other poems, though I contrast my moderate interest in learning poetry with a few physics memories—walking through the shelves of the physics library as an undergraduate and graduate student looking at the books and subjects I longed to learn. Or getting permission from a TA to finish a lab after I’d graduated and was accepted to graduate school. You couldn’t stop me from learning more.

Likewise, sports and fitness require little outside motivation, though others’ achievements inspire me. I’ve committed to training for a marathon faster than to focusing on a poem until I get it.

I haven’t gone out of my way to study poetry. I don’t expect to get everything about it. I enjoy seeing in poetry elements of art that mean different things in each medium—rhythm, composition, melody, form, line, color, and so on. Still, I think I miss something.

I look upon many works, ye mighty. I wouldn’t say I despair. I don’t feel like I’m missing out, but I suspect there’s more for me to get.

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