On being told to write a poem

I have no idea why I feel so angry at the idea of having to write a poem. So I am not surprised that the tutor and the rest of the class were taken aback at how passionate I was about not writing poetry. I can’t understand it myself, but it does make me feel very angry. I love reading poetry, but I am not a poet and I know. It’s fashionable to tell people to “think outside the box” (horrible phrase) and that’s all very well. But I am all for people also knowing and understanding their limitations. Poetry is my limitation.

I am also angry about a creative writing tutor telling his or her students to write a poem. Just like that! With no discussion of what a poem is, what makes a poem and the forms of poetry. There are rules for poetry. Oh yes, there are rules for short story and novel writing too, but poetry is different. We all know what a story is and it’s basic form. We learn that as children, listening to bedtime stories and being read to at school. But poetry has special rules about┬árhythm, rhyme and language. If someone feels that poetry is their kind of thing, then good for them. But it is not mine. Don’t get me wrong, I love reading poetry, but not writing it.

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