By Aaron Shaykevich, Managing Editor
While poetry commonly has a bad reputation as being boring or convoluted, this unfair stereotype precludes many from trying something potentially impactful. When thinking about poetry, many, even I, usually think of Shakespearean sonnets with old English and complicated sentence structure. However, poetry comes in many unique forms. It can be abstract or very literal, allowing each writer to find what works for them. The best part of the diversity in poetry is that if one doesn’t like one style of poetry, they don’t need to read or write it. Everyone has their own preferences, and no one should feel a need to copy what they don’t like from others when writing: accentuate your own unique voice.
While writing poetry may come easy to some, reading and digesting poetry is, in my opinion, much more difficult. Emotions expressed through someone else’s voice can be difficult to process and internalize; visualizations that are not clear to the reader may hide meaning, when the author intended to convey so much. Yet if one continues reading many poems, there will certainly be some poems, or even poets, that speak directly to the reader. Ideas or emotions which were not fully fleshed out can now find representation in someone else’s work. One may even find meaning where an author didn’t intend it, but that is the beauty of poetry.
This semester I am taking the extremely impactful course Reading/Writing Poetry with Dr. Brian Trimboli. In the first week of class, we read poems by Israeli poets who lived through the Holocaust. Just by reading their poems, I was able to get a sense of how survivors processed the traumatic events they went through, better than I might have by just watching a video or reading a book on the subject.
For Reading/Writing Poetry, the evaluation criteria are mostly based on the completion of assigned readings and writings. While this may seem as though one can easily slack off, the class environment is quite the opposite. Many students, myself included, take the opportunity to grow in their understanding of poetry. By removing forms of evaluation that focus on performing to the instructor’s wishes, we can share our real selves (think back to if you ever wrote something because you thought the professor wanted to hear it, just to get an A).
As a pre-med student, poetry will not be part of my life’s work. I do not plan to ever share my poetry in a book or blog. And yet, thanks to this class, I have developed a new hobby, or maybe even a lifestyle. Poetry allows me to turn moments of silence into moments of insightfulness. Even if I don’t need to be creative to get by in life, it can certainly feel cathartic and fulfilling to be so. On every subway ride to and from school, I’ve started to jot down different ideas for future poems. Poetry has begun to penetrate my thought process so much so that every time I listen to a song now, I can’t help but dissect each line as if it was a poem.
Even though we are only about two months into the semester, Reading/Writing Poetry has had a huge impression on me. Dr. Trimboli always leaves students confident in their work, leaving them with the tools to improve and bring out their own unique voice. The next time you have a free moment and have something on your mind, write it down, expound on your idea, and make it real.