Poetry as the "Ugly Alternative"

Novelists are glamorous. Nonfiction writers are logical and critical. Memoirists are sensitive souls scouring the depths of self.
Poets? Well, they're sensitive. But they are also seen as moody and brooding. Don't forget suicidal hermits.

I think the worst part however, is when poetry is described as the disdainful "alternative" people fall back on when a novel isn't in the cards or a writing exercise is needed. Poetry isn't liked by most and surely isn't what you write to get famous. If the novelist is the band's lead singer, poets are empty cans tossed out the tour bus window.

Many, including other artists, believe poetry is too easy, and yet, too closed off. Much of the poetry highly regarded in literary circles presents itself as submarine controls for the guy who likes rafting; it isn't an insult, there are poets who use intentionally distracting word choices so anyone not "in the know" isn't elite. And yet, almost everyone has written a poem in their lives.

The openness of writing poetry is one of the reasons it's powerful to me. It lashes us together as we attempt to navigate emotions and life. Sure, it gets a bad reputation but an excellent poem can have you on your knees sobbing or smiling like a fool in 30 lines, something a lot of people can't do in 300 pages.

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