Poetry – Outdated or in Disguise?

Do you hate it, love it or just don’t care about it? The stereotype of a poet is a middle aged man with a coffee stained shirt, who is sat in an empty office, reading a prehistoric book written in text so small it’s a task just to decipher it. So, in three words, poetry is outdated, tedious and pointless. Or is it?

In our generation, poetry has taken on new forms to adapt to our fast-paced lifestyle. It’s thrown into our Monday morning scrolls on Instagram as everyone posts their ‘motivational quote of the week.’ Little do many realise, most of these cheesy quotes originated from Wilde, Fitzgerald and Bukowski. So before you’ve even left the house for that 10am, you’ve already read poetry without realising it.

We mock poetry all the time, pairing it with lines like ‘what’s the point’ and ‘I don’t get it.’ In all fairness, I don’t think anybody understands Shakespeare or Milton at first glance but did those numbing English lessons in High School really ruin poetry for us forever? What about the spoken word poets, the rappers, the singer-songwriters and the political debaters? Poetry comes in many shapes and sizes.

Spoken word creates a social quality to a form of writing that many consider an isolating and often depressing read. Some of my favourites are Shane Koyzan, Anis Morgan and Sarah Kay.  They focus on modern life and the pros, cons and everything else that comes along with it. Poetry is a way to express our opinions on modern issues, ranging from politics to fashion to that lecturer, who may as well be talking in a different language these days. Spoken word is interactive, it gives us the opportunity to clap, laugh or swear at their writing. It brings liveliness to a genre of writing that many consider to be dead. Poetry doesn’t always have to be soppy and cheesy.

Due to the chaotic nature of twenty-first century life, most people read poetry digitally on their commute to work or in their 3pm coffee break. The ideal setting includes fairy lights and a hot drink with a paperback version, creating some ambiance. However, this isn’t practical for our daily lives and when it comes down to whether poetry is relevant or not in our society, I think incorporating it into our modern lifestyle is incredibly important. We like to socialise and go out, we don’t have time to read poetry at home so we read it on the train or make it a wsocial event.

I am an English Lit student, who enjoys Frost and Dickinson alongside Rupi Kaur and RM Drake. I read poetry on Instagram, Pinterest and in paperback form. And I can also rap the majority of Kanye on a Friday night. Poetry has taken on many new forms. So if we’re still reading, listening and writing it then yes, poetry is relevant even in this day and age.

George Arkley

(Image: Wired)

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