Today I have chosen to Learn to Love … poetry! A form I’m not the biggest fan of, as I’ve said in Q&A’s before, so this is a brave step for me.
1. Have you ever read texts from this form before?
Yes; I’ve read and studied multiple poems throughout my time in the education system so I am not oblivious to poetry.
2. Why have you stayed away from this form?
I don’t enjoy poems unless there is a clear meaning (be it implicit or explicit) and if it tells a story. I really can’t get my head around “waffle” poetry which is a rambling of thoughts, feelings or personal philosophies, so I much prefer there to be a clear narrative. I also find a lot of poetic structures difficult to engage with, and harder to read, than prose.
3. Why have you chosen these particular texts?
Just as I did when testing graphic novels, I have chosen multiple texts to best get a feel for exploring more poetry. I have chosen poems which tell stories and tie in to my interests of the Gothic, subverted fairytales and themes of darkness and depression. The 3 poems I am going to read are Mariana by Alfred Lord Tennyson, The Raven by Edgar Allan Poe, and Cinderella by Sylvia Plath.
1. What did you like?
In Mariana, I liked the use of repetition and colours to convey a dark and stagnant atmosphere, and the decay of Mariana and her surroundings. The repeated dialogue, ‘I would that I were dead!’ also conveys Mariana’s mental instability, highlighting how damaging it was for a Victorian woman to be abandoned by a man, on whom she depended.
In The Raven, I liked the incredibly Gothic themes of death, the supernatural and bad omens. The repetition of dialogue links each stanza together, keeping the narrative flowing, and shows how the protagonist strays from rationality (believing the raven is a lost pet) into more subverted ideas (believing the raven is a supernatural entity). I particularly enjoyed Sir Christopher Lee’s rendition of the poem, which you can find here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BefliMlEzZ8
In Cinderella, I liked the beautiful descriptions which really encapsulated ideas of fairytales and the fantasy genre. However, she subverts certain elements, such as the ‘caustic clock’*, suggesting the destructive nature of time, which subsequently presents the happy tale of a soon-to-be princess in a depressing light.
*caustic: to corrode organic tissue by chemical reactions
2. What did you dislike?
There are arguable strong feminist themes in both Mariana and Cinderella, and I don’t particularly enjoy feminist writing (sorry!). I also thought The Raven was rather long; I much preferred the length of Mariana and I thought Cinderella was quite short, but effective.
1. After reading the text, would you say that you enjoy this form?
I certainly enjoyed reading these poems, and I would be interested in reading more Gothic poetry with a simple rhyme scheme and a clear narrative.
2. Have any of your preconceptions changed?
I would still say I prefer prose; I can’t see myself ever re-reading a poem, but I’ve certainly learnt that stories can be conveyed through poetry just as well as in a novel.
3. Would you read more texts in this form?
I would be interested in reading more of Poe’s works and Plath’s works – to see which other poems are dark or subverted and find the ones I enjoy most. If you have any recommendations for poems I should read, please leave me a comment below and I’ll be sure to check them out!
Please like this post if you enjoyed it; the final day of my Learn to Love Challenge will be uploaded at the same time tomorrow.
Do you like poetry? Who is your favourite poet? Let me know your thoughts!