Wanted: Poets, Dead or Alive?

LongfellowPoetry of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Come, read to me some poem,
Some simple and heartfelt lay
That shall soothe this restless feeling,
And banish the thoughts of day.
– “The Day is Done” by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Recently my daughter came up to me with a book of poetry. She showed me a poem and asked, “How is this a poem, just because someone decided to break the sentences up in random places?” She’s taking a poetry class at college and when I asked her how it was going, she said it’s hard because the poetry they’re reading is “c–p,” as she put it. The teacher told the students that since they most likely studied the “old” (ie. dead) poets (ie. Longfellow, Dickinson, Tennyson, Kipling, the Romantics) in high school, they were going to do modern and contemporary poetry in this class. Then my daughter (unintentionally) gave me a compliment and said now she understood WHY those old poets are the ones I assigned when we were homeschooling. My daughter had a hard time understanding this modern poetry, couldn’t relate to it, and definitely didn’t seem to appreciate or enjoy reading it. Continue reading “Wanted: Poets, Dead or Alive?”