My Most Unpopular Opinions: Poetry Edition

Last week I uploaded a post about some “unpopular” opinions of mine that have to do with fiction novels. This week I’m going to be talking about some more controversial opinions I have about poetry in general. Here are my top 5 unpopular opinions about poetry:

Not all Poetry has to Rhyme

  1. Not all poetry has to rhyme. I saw an article the other day that went into the author’s opinion that poetry has to rhyme to be considered poetry since that is the genre’s defining characteristic to separate it from other styles of writing. It was an extremely well written and well thought out article. However, I disagree! I think what distinguishes poetry from other types of writing is much more complex than that. Visual presentation, different line structures, length, and content are just some of the factors that can distinguish poetry from a different style of writing. I think free verse poetry is an extremely valid structure of poetry, that can be lyrical and has a unique flow without having to rhyme. Some free verse poetry does follow a rhyme or meter structure at least slightly and some does not. However it’s the content of free verse poetry that discusses a topic in depth, appeals to the senses and showcases imagery that in my opinion, makes it a perfectly valid form of poetry.

The Pretentious Environment Turns People Away

2. Poetry’s pretentious environment turns people away. It needs to be discussed. I have a deeply rooted love for poetry and I love to seek out spaces where I can share this love with others. However, especially when I was first starting out and becoming brave enough to join clubs or classes, it was extremely discouraging how snobby the poetry environment can be. If you don’t share a fascination for certain classics or you dare to wander over to the world of contemporary poetry, you are sometimes made to feel like you don’t understand poetry as well as others. I’m here to tell you that isn’t true. Shakespeare is my worst nightmare to this day. I don’t enjoy his content or even the structure of his poetry. I do have an appreciation though for the innovation he brought to poetry and the history that he’s made. This mindset is how more people need to approach poetry. What inspires and fascinates one poet, may completely bore another, but that doesn’t make you a bad poet! It just makes you a poet with different preferences and that is perfectly fine. We should be excited and inviting when someone shares a love for poetry. We should never be guilty of being gatekeepers based off our own personal opinions.

Why do so many People Hate Slam Poetry?

3. Why do so many people hate slam poetry?? I know, I know. I just got done talking about how everyone is entitled to their own preferences and I meant it. I’m not upset at this fact, I’m just truly fascinated why some people hate slam poetry so deeply. I agree that just because you call it slam poetry, doesn’t necessarily make it poetry. Still, I have been in the audience to witness how a passionate reading can infuse a poem with so much life and inspire the audience in a completely different way than written poetry can. I think slam poetry is so mesmerizing and unique. I especially think it’s great when conveying an extremely strong emotion or discussing social issues. If you’re not a fan of slam poetry, let me know in the comments! There’s no judgement here, I am just genuinely curious.

Rap is Poetry

Rap is poetry. Like I’ve been saying throughout this article, poetry comes in so many different forms and I don’t think any of us have the right to gatekeep what “real poetry” is. I don’t think that every single rap song is a poem necessarily but so much of it is. So many rap songs have a consistent rhyme structure, appeal to the senses, showcase imagery, and just in general align with the structure of a typical poem in so many ways. Why are so many people insistent that rap is not poetry? I think at some point we have to be honest about the toxic attitude that can take over the poetry world. When rappers or other poets use explicit language, discuss social issues, or discuss the reality of their economic class, it may not be pretty or romantic but guess what? It’s poetry! You don’t have to like it and you don’t have to read it but we need to give credit where credit is due. There is some legendary poetic talent in the world of rap and it is “real poetry” in every sense.

Poetry Doesn’t Have to be Deep

5. Poetry doesn’t have to be deep. For a brief moment I hated poetry and when I think back to why, it was because in order to be considered a well respected poet it seemed like I wasn’t allowed to have any fun. I have always been a deep thinker with deep emotions and poetry helps me put that into words. I’ve always had a deep love for similes, metaphors, symbolism and those themes are rich in poetry. However, in the words of my mom “Sometimes the water is just blue.” Sometimes there is no symbolism, metaphor, or deeper meaning. Sometimes the water is just blue and I want to write about a silly and meaningless topic just because it’s fun. However, if you want to write poetry with a more complex meaning then go for it! The number one rule to poetry is simple; be authentic. If you’re feeling like you have a heavy heart and want to talk about it then go for it. If you’re having a light hearted day and you want to write a poem just to see if you can pull off a random rhyme structure then do it. I just think we are at our best and our poetry is at its best when we’re authentic and open to other people’s interpretations.

Do you agree or disagree with any of these opinions? Do you have any unpopular opinions of your own? Let me know in the comments down below!

My 4 Unpopular Opinions: Fiction Novels

  I'll admit it, I've already started suffering from a second wave of writer's block. I started to do what a lot of us do when that happens: google ideas. Then a random idea hit me. My unpopular opinions. This post will be about unpopular opinions I have about general patterns I notice in fiction novels and I will use examples from popular fiction novels I’ve read in order to illustrate my point. Here are my four unpopular opinions about fiction novels:  

The Main Character’s Love Interest

 1. I often disagree on who the main character ends up with romantically. I know, you read that and thought to yourself, ‘everyone does.’ As someone who was a die-hard Harry Potter fan since Elementary School, I have to admit that from day one I thought Harry and Hermione should have ended up together. I even thought Katniss and Gale should have ended up together in the Hunger Games series. Hear me out, sometimes it’s difficult for me to ignore two character’s obvious compatibility and submerge myself in the belief that a character who is the polar opposite of them will be what’s ultimately best for them in the end. I can understand why this tendency of mine isn’t always right. In the case of Katniss and Gale, they will always be similar minded but his actions and defining flaw, resulted in an unforgiveable mistake. In the case of Harry and Hermione, reading about their constant spats and at one point, Ron’s complete abandonment of Hermione was excruciating. As writers, I hope all of us try our hardest to do what’s logical for our character in the universe we’ve created for them, instead of using our characters to prove points to ourselves based off what’s going on in our personal lives. 

Having a Plot Twist with no Purpose

2. Fairytale endings are not overrated. I remember exactly what I felt when I closed My Sister’s Keeper. Why? Why and how could it possibly end that way? Consider this your spoiler alert if you still want to read this book and you don’t know the ending. I’m not saying every book should have a happy ending and I’m not even necessarily saying the endings to this book was bad. However, I think becoming attached to a girl named Anna battling to get emancipated from her parents who were using her as her sister Kate’s personal marrow donor to help her through her battle with cancer was a heart wrenching battle to read hundreds of pages about in itself. What on earth did we as the reader gain from the ending? At the end of the book, after the emancipation trial was finally over, a car accident happens. Anna had formed a unique and powerful bond with the attorney for her emancipation case, named Campbell. Anna had just been granted emancipation from her parents and the judge appointed Campbell to act as her power of attorney. The reader, who has spent the entire novel empathizing with Anna gets to be excited by this outcome for maybe a few minutes before going on to read that a car accident happens where Anna is killed. There are many more details surrounding the plot and ending but these are the main factors you need to understand to comprehend my outrage at the ending. I don’t think authors need to coddle their readers with a happy ending every single time. I even favor a realistic approach to a fiction novel, but I think several authors are guilty of using a dramatic plot twist to set their work apart, instead of letting the plot speak for itself and come to a natural conclusion. The plot of this novel was so powerful and unique by itself that I wish we could have followed the natural conclusion the rest of the plot had set up instead of settling for an abrupt plot twist. 

Not Every Story Needs a Love Triangle

3. There doesn’t have to be a love triangle, or a romantic love present at all. I’ll keep this explanation short because I think the point, I’ve made speaks for itself. Here are some Titles of excellent fiction books that aren’t about romantic love: A Wrinkle in Time, Matilda, The Help, Coraline, The Golden Compass, The Kite Runner. It’s a strange combination of recommendations but just a friendly reminder that stories without a romantic plot are out there and definitely worth a read! 

Always Do Your Research

4. Even though you’re writing a fiction novel, you should still do your research. I read Fifty Shades of Grey. Yeah. There’s a reason there were several protests surrounding this movie’s release. I am a huge fan of any author who steps outside of what is conventionally accepted and opens the public’s eyes to more taboo topics. However, the lack of research done about the BDSM lifestyle was extremely evident with this novel and the potential consequences of it are scary to think about. The idea that someone would read about Christian Grey’s behavior and think that this mindset is attractive and healthy to emulate is extremely concerning. If you’re going to tackle a topic, please do enough research about it that you don’t create a harmful message for your readers or disrespect an entire community of people who have been fighting against stigma for years.  

Do you disagree with any of these opinions or have any unpopular opinions of your own? Comment and let me know!