If All They Get Are Dull Readings, No Wonder Teenagers Loathe Poetry

In my regular job, I write educational material for teenagers, and their reaction to poetry is almost always “ugh.”

Now, they’re teenagers, so “ugh” is one of their main reactions to anything; however, many of them really, sincerely loathe poetry. Some have enough trouble reading already (literacy in our country is really going downhill), and others have only experienced poetry as technical analysis or as a horrible, dry reading. When you read poetry with the same expression as reading a recipe for meatloaf, of course it’s not going to be entertaining or interesting!

Unfortunately, due to copyright limitations, reliance on written materials, and the censorship that goes with trying not to offend any parents, I can’t share with them the videos of spoken poetry that would be most likely to change their minds – videos like Katie Makkai’s “Pretty,” where the poetry is about modern concerns and subjects and is read with feeling and meaning.

Isn’t it amazing what a difference that makes?

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