Why I Like To Read Poetry

Essay om poesi på engelsk.

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“to cry is to know that you’re alive but

my river of tears has run dry”


I like to read poetry, because. Because of… Well, actually, I don’t like poetry. Well, reading it at least. I find it awfully boring. Really, what kind of person goes ”Hey! Today, I wanna read some poetry!” and then goes straight to his bookshelf, finds some sort of poetry collection, and just reads it. In my opinion, the definition of such a person would be…well, to put it this way, such a person hasn’t caught the meaning of poetry. In my opinion at least.


I am yet to have met an enjoyer of poetry in it’s “natural” form, so to speak. By natural form I mean the form most people expect to find it in; Extremely dull books written by extremely weird people. The result being extremely dull and weird books, none are really able to fully understand, nor appreciate to their full extent. Save the author perhaps.


Yet, by the end of this text you’ll perhaps discover my passion for poetry, maybe you’ll even discover there’s been a little “closet lover of poetry” deep down in yourself…? But all that won’t come until my definition of poetry is presented. About then, the contrast of what I just said and the headline will be explained thoroughly. But of course, it won’t be served in plain words, I’ll hide it in between the words, maybe it can be found somewhere between the lines on the way there…? Who knows, it might even be buried deeply indeed beneath the words.


You’ve probably already read the short piece of poetry above this part, but have another glance at it. This time, try to overlook the grave fact that I’ve extracted it from a text, without even referring to the complete text, and think. No, feel. Try to feel the meaning of it. Firstly, is anything at all, stirred in you? No matter how deep, how insignificant “it” may seem, naught more than a soft prickling at the back of your head is needed. Yes? You experienced one of the symptoms listed, or perhaps one that falls under one of the mentioned categories? Good. There is still hope after all.


You see, as we are cultivated into adulthood, or whatever, it is my almost religious conviction that we outsmart our feelings. And so, we outsmart ourselves. If there is any basis whatsoever in what I say, this is roughly how you, or any other “cultivated” person would approach the short piece of poetry above, more often than not, when asked to have another look at it. Although the scary fact is that in most cases this happens even at the first glance! (You may get the feeling that this doesn’t apply to me, from the way I express myself. Of course it does. I am just as cultivated as most of you.)

First you would read it. Maybe take in the genre and other unnecessary info. Then, if it interested you or maybe gave you this short prickling sensation at the back of your head I spoke of earlier, you would read it over again. Or, even worse, you would give what you just read a second thought. Not good at all. To be honest, that’s bad. From here and on, you’re past downhill, you’re tumbling down the hill comparable to an avalanche or similar. There are many ways you could take it from here. You could… analyse it something in the direction of; The person in question is sad, he’s lost his taste in life, his sense of self, the variations are endless at this point. So let’s just leave them to themselves shall we?


You see, poetry, is not meant to be analysed, it’s not meant to be thought about over and over again. It’s purpose is to inspire reflection upon whatever it’s about, may it be life, death or whatever.

Anyway: Poetry is not meant to be broken in pieces, it is meant to be interpreted as a whole, referring to beyond the poetry itself, but that’s really not the point here so I’ll let that to  lie.


Are you the sheep that follow

are you the pig that swallow

are you the dog that allow

all this injustice to wallow


This time, try to not interpret the poetry, here in the form of an extract of a song lyric. Notice how you immediately have much more benefit of reading it? Yes, I believe you are about to be “uncultivated”! Congratulations. You have completed the first step towards once again becoming a lover of poetry. This does of course not apply if you didn’t think in the lines I compared with an avalanche earlier.


her voice is beyond her years

she’s trying to move you

she did not know where to go

and soon it was dark

if I could look you in the eyes

if I could look you in the eyes

I couldn’t let you go

I couldn’t let you go

her voice is beyond her years

please try not to move her

at least it was her mistake

hers alone to make

if I could look you in the eyes

if I could look you in the eyes


I use the words once again because: Another permanent opinion of mine is as following, but first I am forced to explain my personal definition of poetry:


Poetry, is in many things. (For information, this is my personal definition of poetry, and is the basis of my entire essay.) Not to say many things. If you’re already a lover of poetry, or perhaps you live the lie that you understand it, you shall be very provoked indeed by my essay and the arguments in it. And in that case, accusations and allegations. You may already be deeply insulted, and if not, you are to be. That is if you don’t agree with me.

Poetry is not the poems you’ll find in works like “Andre Bjérkes samlede verker”. Yes, you’ll find poems there, lots of them to. But my own experience of poetry, note the difference in not just the form, but the meaning of the word, is different. The same experience is made by most people to. Song lyrics are per definition poetry, to some extent.

The keyword here is emotions. All emotions uttered by people under the influence of love for instance, love letters the way people express their love towards each other in words is poetry. Not just when put in a certain form.


Emotions. Feelings. The feelings poetry can awake in me are not meant to be described in a language spoken, but by a language felt. I am afraid that I am what you would call a hopeless romantic. And all hopeless romantics have the natural talent required to see my point in this text; poetry is more than words.


As a finish, try reading the lyric some paragraphs above, and see if you get  my point. Don’t be disappointed if you don’t get it the way I’ve described it, you have probably taken my point more than those who do see my point. You’ve discovered the individuality in poetry, my third reason for liking poetry. Ten people can read one line and interpret it in twenty different ways…


I use the words once again because: As children, we are all poets or some of the ilk. At the very least we are naturally easily affected by feelings and emotions, and are therefore easy victims for poets. And if you’re the right, or the wrong kind, of person, you were able read between the lines just above that I consider all natural poets.

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