What's The Deal With Poetry?

Essay by Kylie Bascom

Mrs. Bragg's English class engaged in a competition recently to write an amazing argumentative essay. While there were many good entries, one stood out. Student Kylie Bascom argued why poetry is worth reading and here is what she said:

“So much depends/ upon/ a red wheel/barrow/ glazed with rain/ water/ beside the white/ chickens” (Williams). This is one of my favorite poems simply because it says so much in just a short time and it makes you close read and take a deeper look at the poem to understand it. Is poetry worth reading? People seem to be debating this issue because we have different perspectives. Most teenagers for example do not necessarily like poetry. They are not very engaged and intrigued by poetry. On the other hand, most adults seem to enjoy poetry more than teenagers. They seem to be fascinated with every word. So how do we determine if poetry is worth reading or not? Poetry is worth reading because it can be so powerful, it can help communicate experiences, and it can help you get through hard times.

First, poetry is worth reading because it can be so powerful. In the article ‘83 percent of poetry is not worth reading’ Billy Collins said, ““The other 17 percent of poetry isn’t just worth reading. I couldn’t live without it, he said.”””(Reardon). This shows just how powerful poetry is. He is saying that he can’t live without it. Poetry has a big impact on some. The article by Reardon says, “Poetry, Collins said, “gives him a kind of pleasure that is unavailable anywhere in the world. That pleasure is a mix of feeling, thought and language. A poem is a conscious effort to create that mix, to use language almost to fuse thought and feeling together. The perfect blend is the pleasure for me the marriage of thought and feeling.””(Reardon).  Collins gets a pleasure from poetry. Not very many people get a pleasure this powerful.

Second, poetry is worth reading because it can help communicate experiences. In the article by Newsela it says, “Now Kassir travels the world drawing attention to Syria through

rallies and slam poetry performances.”(Newsela). Kassir was involved in the war now she tells other people about her experiences through poems. In the Newsela article it also says, ““Poetry is a witness,” said Mohja Kahf, an Arab American poet and professor. She praised the work of Syrian poet Khawla Dunia, an activist.”(Newsela).  Just like what Kahf said Poetry is a witness for many things. It can help communicate experiences through others writing their experiences down therefore making poetry a witness.

As a final point, poetry is worth reading because it can help you get through hard times. In the Newsela article it says, “It is the verse of the forgotten who struggle to survive among violent madmen and ruined cities, as they become refugees without homes.”(Newsela). People who have gone through horrible times also wrote poetry to get through it. Another piece of evidence by the Newsela article says, “The poems flow in slipstreams of syllables, beats and rhythms. Poems are composed by writers, doctors, mothers, activists and Syrians who live abroad who are all compelled to write about the suffering in their ancestral land.”(Newsela). Many people who have gone through the harshness of war wrote poetry to get through that rough time.

Some people think that we shouldn’t read poetry because it is hard to understand. This is not true because this means you are not trying to understand it. If you look closely, and read slowly you will find something very interesting. Poetry is worth reading because it can be powerful. Poetry is worth reading because it can help communicate experiences, and it can help you get through hard times.

 A special thanks to Mrs. Bragg and Kylie for sharing.