I have never read much poetry because it has never been a part of a class before. I find that poetry is a little bit scary because it could be hard to understand what the poet is talking about, kind of like a riddle. If a teacher asked me if I would rather write a short paper about a news article or a poem, I would choose the news article because I understand how news articles are written but I do not know much about poetry.
Even though I do not know much about poetry, I remember once when I was younger a teacher gave us an assignment where students chose either to write a poem or an essay about something. I chose the poem because I thought it would be easier to write and take less time. At that age, I believed the only thing I had to do was make the words and the end of each line rhyme. This turned out to be more difficult than I expected, and it probably took me just as long to write the poem as it would have taken me to write an essay. This is another reason why I think poems are going to be difficult to read, because they are not easy to write.
Since then, I have learned that not all poems rhyme. There are different kinds of poems, like haiku poems, that do not require rhymes but a certain number of syllables on each line. I am very sure that there are many types of poems besides rhyming poems and haiku poems. It takes a lot of creativity and knowledge about words to write a poem. Perhaps my attempt at writing one and realizing it is not so easy is part of why poetry seems a little bit scary to me.
Having a chance to learn about poetry from a class would make poetry seem much less scary. Reading a poem with others and talking about it could help me learn new ways to see poetry and understand how to use language.
The title of Anne Sexton’s poem, “The Fury of Overshoes,” is probably the most mysterious part of this poem. As I read the poem, I wondered what fury had to do with overshoes. “They sit in a row/ outside the kindergarten,” writes Sexton (1-2). As I read, I realized this is a poem about childhood. I found that this poem was easy to read and understand in general, because I do remember the images Sexton creates with her poem. The scenes Sexton creates are not the fun parts of being a child, but the frustrating parts, like being scared in the dark and not knowing how to swim.
In some ways, this poem makes me feel more at ease with poetry because the general subject was easy to understand. I finished reading the poem without feeling like I was reading something difficult. However, the title is still mysterious, because I am not sure how overshoes and fury relate. I think it has something to do with the frustrations of childhood, because kids often become furious when they are frustrated.
Maxine Kumin’s poem, “Woodchucks,” was also easy to read. At first, it was almost like a cartoon. The people try to gas the woodchucks who are living underneath their house, but it does not work, and the very next day the woodchucks are outside and destroying the flower and vegetable gardens. I could see a cartoon man jumping up and down with anger and stomping inside to get his gun.
I was not sure what Kumin meant by “Darwinian pieties” means. I am guessing that it means “survival of the fittest,” so if the people could kill the woodchucks they were right to do so. I think one of the reasons I will really remember the poem, though, is its shocking language at the end. “If only they’d all consented to die unseen/ gassed underground the quiet Nazi way,” writes Kumin (34-35). This poem is very straightforward about its subject, not a riddle like I expected poems to be. I thought about why the poet did not simply write this in prose instead. It could make a good story, but it is a short incident in life. The shocking last line makes it memorable, and perhaps the effect would not be so strong if it were a longer prose piece.
Kumin, Maxine. “Woodchucks.”
Sexton, Anne. “A Fury of Overshoes.”