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Dear Mr. Teacher,

Poetry. Poetry?

Couldn’t I just write an essay? I know how to use similes and metaphors. The assignment is a monkey on my back, pounding on my head like a mallet. I can use figurative language with almost seamless appearance. The smell of rubber and gasoline crawled into my nose as the metro bus screeched to a halt at the curb. Alliteration? I smoothly slid my sleek new head phones down my head, as I tripped toward the titanium steps. Alliteration: check. I can even use poetic tone, formal and informal.
We could have been assigned a short story, even one of those 55-word ones. But asking me to write a poem is difficult. When I think of poetry, it’s memories and raw emotion connected to them. Broken apart, it is only compounds of a language. Similes, metaphors, alliteration. “Don’t get lazy on me with your similes and metaphors.” Basically, you’re asking me for pieces of defined poetry. But true poetry as I define it doesn’t require specific verbs or rhymes or figurative language at all. Poetry is a form of self expression, and therefor being self expression shouldn’t be judged as simply words.
Why, you may be wondering, do I have the nerve to say such things? Well, it could very well be that it isn’t my place to be talking back to a teacher, but it’s something I feel passionate about and something I’ve also been tiptoeing around since I got the assignment.
At the end of the day, poetry is meant to convey a feeling or image in one’s mind. I understand this. I also understand that a good (or rather, popular) poet should be able to connect with the reader in some way. And lastly I understand that figurative language, alliteration, etc. are important tools of the poetic process.
That being said, isn’t it important to focus more on the art that these tools have created, than the tools themselves? For instance, if I were to write a poem with weak words and few lines, I would most likely come out with a bad grade. But what if something about it was so much deeper than the surface, that the lack of crucial details only makes the reader even more consumed? Just something I’ve been considering.
I’m not an amazing writer and I wouldn’t even stretch to say I’m good, but I think I get my point across relatively well. I am an amateur poet, to say the least, but a great poet is in me somewhere. When I write with purpose, my writing can hold up. But when I am asked to write a poem in pieces with a set subject, I don’t have the heart to get the grade I so long for. Even if you can’t change the assignment, I hope you might be able to see the situation from a particularly passionate pupil’s point of view.

Sincerely,
Future Citizen




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This article has 3 comments. Post your own!

morethanunusual said...
Jan. 26, 2011 at 7:30 pm:
i hate it when poetry is assigned and graded. Poetry has no right or wrong answers or anything, so how can you grade it? Great job : )
 
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whatshername said...
Jan. 26, 2011 at 3:31 pm:
this is good!! 
 
SilverSoul replied...
Jan. 26, 2011 at 6:46 pm :
thank you!
 
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