I was always surprised at the number of people Harry Owen managed to entice to his open mike Reddits’ poetry readings in Grahamstown. It may partly be the nature of the residents of Grahamstown. It’s also that Harry’s Reddits’ events made poetry accessible and fun.
Poetry or more accurately verse is not exactly, let’s say “popular”. We accept this somehow, but do not question why enough. Few read poetry, and fewer are prepared to say why.
Some people think poetry is like a crossword, or a dead language like Latin, that has to be puzzled through.
Many people seem to think poetry is just notes about your life, sometimes obscure notes, made instantly into poetry by being expressed as lines scattered across a page. Free verse has encouraged this.
Mind you the past produced reams of properly rhyming and scanning verse that differed little in pretentiousness and banality.
Anyway, in the light of our silence about poetry denialism, I was pleased to see that someone called derek beaulieu (pretentiously lower case by design) has written something (a book of verse?) called “Please, No More Poetry“. It contains these, and other, provocative lines:
Poetry is the last refuge of the unimaginative.
Poetry has little to offer outside of poetry itself.
Poetry, sadly, knows it’s poetry, while writing doesn’t always know it’s writing.
As the old Nedbank ad used to say, “Makes you think, doesn’t it?”