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I don't enjoy poetry. What does that say about me?
I've never enjoyed poetry very much. I've tried, honestly i have. I've forced myself to read entire anthologies of poems, only to come to the same conclusion: i don't like poems. I find it difficult to find any depth, any relatable  meaning in them. And the manner in which they are written make them seem intentionally difficult read.
I feel like my opinion on the matter is out of place. I'm certainly not the kind of person who finds it hard to appreciate literature. I, like many of you, am an avid reader. I love novels, plays, biographies, non-fiction narratives. I've met very few fellow readers who don't also enjoy the "gift of poetry".

Now, i realize that most of you are now thinking of every possible way you could argue against me on the subject. Believe me, I've heard it all. "You have to find the meaning between the words, Althea." and, "You just read them too quickly, slow down and try to figure out what the poet is trying to say."

My point in this isn't to argue my opinion, it's to extract your opinions. I want to know why you personally read poetry. And what you think this opinion of mine says about me. Am i a less well-read, literary person because i find it hard to appreciate poetry?
You don't appreciate Poetry? the fuck? Can some moderator on this site please expel this young lady from ever posting again? The idea that a commoner like you even got membership on THINQon repulses me from the entire internet medium.

No, I'm just jesting. I'm just jettisoning with my supplies of spare assault.

Poetry is fucking hard and annoying and a time sinker and brain hurting and sometimes deeply enriching and rewarding. It's like doing a Sunday crossword and then feeling a bit of an intellectual high and maybe even an emotional one that isn't so easy to put into words.

I read poetry because I'm not really good at crosswords but I still like to feel smart highs sometime. I like them as puzzles. It's like those mazes with the mouse and the piece of cheese, you've got to do all this bullshit and crash into all these deadends but at the great big swiss cheese you win this great big idea. Somehow from a handful of words you've earned something greater than words. An idea but more accurately the idea of a feeling.

It's hard to be any more specific because as you read poetry and love it you learn to love each poem and poet differently because each is just a speck of the human experience and if you've felt something than you've just read a poem that peers into the truth of things.

But also there's no right or wrong way to appreciate poetry. Sometimes I just read a poem out loud without thinking and it's the way it all sounds that I appreciate. Because there's a feeling in the meter. It's the same as a song that you can sing along to perfectly and you've never even thought to think what it's about. Some things just sound pretty. Or I like how those words compliment each other. Good poetry is as much about intuitive feeling as it is about the brain. Unless you are T.S. Eliot and have a hard-on for intellectual pursuits. But even in his you can feel without thinking.

The only thing I can think to recommend is to read Shakespeare. Lots and lots of Shakespeare. His plays blur the line between poetry and literature and should be read as both. And if you've read and appreciate Shakespeare than you've read and appreciated poetry.
Have you ever had one of those moments when the fog lifts, the dust settles, your best friend or your first love drives off at high noon, and all of a sudden you are haunted by some old cliche, or a line in an old sad song, which shimmers on the horizon in the midday heat...
and you say to yourself: That's what they meant -- why didn't they say so?

There are some experiences which can't be expressed, only entered into. Zen koans try to come close to this -- there's a meaning which can't be contained in words, and so you try to build a story as a kind of little box, and if the person opens it just right, they might catch the tail end of this meaning as it escapes.

Some of the best kind of poetry does this. There's a lot of terrible poetry, because poetry tries to do something which is by its nature difficult, and so most failures are pretentious as well as disappointing. They stay trapped in the private experience of the person who wrote them, like a discarded wrapper which contains none of the glory of the original experience.

I was once told that there are three different scents which a glass of cognac gives off: when you first pour it out, still raw; after you've nursed it for awhile and warmed it up in your hands, the scent of pure enjoyment; and the scent which lingers in the glass the next morning when you come back into the room.

Most of the time, reading poetry can seem like someone else is asking you to do their dishes. But keep in mind that it's also trying to do something else. When it succeeds, it's moving in a way language rarely is, because it is not simply language as a kind of record, but as something still alive.

[Well, this is one opinion, for what it's worth. :-)  ]

In response to Mia Vialti
Wow. I like poetry even more after reading this. Beautiful illustration of entering into the meaning. If Althea really really has a question about what the joy of poetry is, this is a perfect and poetic answer.
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