Are Poets Allowed to Hit the Like Button?

I have a bookmarked folder on my computer titled “Poetry.” It’s a sampling of different online literary journals and poems that I have acquired during my time at college.

What made me want to tag these for future inspiration?

I liked them.

While I would love to give an in-depth analysis of the technique and craft intrinsic to each work, I cannot, nor do I have the motivation to.

Are we, as self-proclaimed readers and writers, obligated to analyze and dissect each poem that we stumble across? Do we owe every poem/poet that piqued our interest a lengthy session mulling over meaning and meter?

The student in me says “Yes, why practice poetry if you’re not going to commit to it?”

The I-started-writing-poetry-before-I-even-knew-what-a-good-poem-looked-like poet naively says no, of course not, poetry is an art form meant to be enjoyed.

As you can see, I’m on the fence. I feel as if I am doing poems a disservice if I read them and slap on a gold star without giving an ounce of thought to poetic voice or alliteration. Perhaps, after spending a significant amount of time workshopping my peers’ pieces I have developed an intrinsic capability of analysis, as a result, during my reading of a new piece I do not have to actively think about technique in order to acknowledge the work’s merit. Unfortunately, I do not believe that this is the case. Some poems I simply like.

Does anyone else feel as if they cannot give a good ol’ thumbs up to a poem without providing some sort of academic reason?

One Reply to “Are Poets Allowed to Hit the Like Button?”

  1. I think we can like a poem without having give an academic explanation, at least when we’re alone. I used to give a former friend of mine grief over not having a reason for liking something (a movie, a play, etc.) and she would say, “It just speaks to me.”

    “Well, if it’s speaking, what is it saying to you?” I’d ask impatiently.

    She’d shrug. “I don’t know.”

    That was two years ago. I understand now that a tone or feeling can be communicated in a poem so that it soaks into readers before they even have a chance to dissect it. Maybe that’s part of what happens when we just “like” a poem. It doesn’t work in class or with super uptight poetry students, but so what if you like a poem unacademically?

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