I’m not a huge fan of poetry

Sure poetry can describe some beautiful things, but...

Despite having studied on a degree in which reading poetry made up a huge chunk of many units, I’ve never actually been a big fan of poetry. Always been more of a prose fan. Why have I decided to talk about this now?

Mainly it’s because I haven’t been able to get the final stanza of Robert Frost’s Stopping by the Woods on a Snowy Evening out of my head after hearing it in a film or TV programme recently:

Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening
Whose woods these are I think I know.
His house is in the village though;
He will not see me stopping here
To watch his woods fill up with snow.   

My little horse must think it queer
To stop without a farmhouse near
Between the woods and frozen lake
The darkest evening of the year.   

He gives his harness bells a shake
To ask if there is some mistake.
The only other sound’s the sweep
Of easy wind and downy flake.   

The woods are lovely, dark and deep.
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.

 Source: Poetry Foundation

It’s a rather haunting final stanza, which is probably why it gets referred to a lot in different media texts. Probably why it’s stayed with me too and is one of my fave poems.

Strangely though, despite my general dislike of most poetry, I ended up writing a dissertation on the author and poet Sherman Alexie when I was in the final year of my degree, which meant that I had to study his poetry. And so through familiarising myself with some of his earlier poetry, I kind of ended up liking it.

But really, my second favourite poem of all time is On the Ning Nang Nong by Spike Milligan:

On the Ning Nang Nong
On the Ning Nang Nong
Where the Cows go Bong!
and the monkeys all say BOO!
There's a Nong Nang Ning
Where the trees go Ping!
And the tea pots jibber jabber joo.
On the Nong Ning Nang
All the mice go Clang
And you just can't catch 'em when they do!
So its Ning Nang Nong
Cows go Bong!
Nong Nang Ning
Trees go ping
Nong Ning Nang
The mice go Clang
What a noisy place to belong
is the Ning Nang Ning Nang Nong!!

Source: Spike Milligan

Mostly it’s down to how it plays with sounds and is obviously quite fun to read aloud. Plus the wacky imagery it brings up is kinda cool.

I also have a soft spot for some of the poems of Stéphane Mallarmé and Ezra Pound. But you would never catch me reading a book of poetry for fun, which is why I mark it out so much from any of my other pursuits.


2 thoughts on “I’m not a huge fan of poetry

  1. I found I don’t like poetry too much, apart from epic poetry which goes on for pages and is essentially a book in a different format, but I found I enjoy writing even if it is the same artsy bull that poets themselves write.

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