The Massachusetts Poetry festival was this weekend. Every year, I get the inclination to maybe check out one or two of the open mics. This is why I don’t.
You may be surprised to learn about this, but I am a huge fan of Sherlock Holmes. Now that your mind has been blown, it may not surprise you to know that I was researching an episode from a SH series that ran in the fifties when I came across a blog written by a kid who seemed to know his stuff. So I clicked through some of his past entries, which included his poetry section.
Oh, my, God, the first poem I read was the exact same poem I wrote in high school.
I don’t mean to say that this kid found a poem I posted online and copied it word for word. I don’t mean that I influenced him in someway. What I mean is that I read his poem and I recognized in his writings the exact same amateurish crap that I once filled several pages of a word document with and had the nerve to print out. My high school could have charged me with a war crime for what I had done. Several times throughout the years, I tried to force my poetry on others and how I did not wind up in a home for the criminally insane is a mystery that even the Great Detective cannot hope to solve.
This isn’t to say that all teenagers write crappy poetry. Adults have certainly committed crimes against the art form. It’s also worth mentioning that there have been skilled poets among all age groups capable of wielding the pen and the keyboard.
I sometimes wonder if Dead Poet’s Society isn’t partially to blame as I watched that movie about twelve times over the course of four years in high school, so I have no doubt that it’s still making the rounds. But I very strongly feel that teachers couldn’t hurt anything by reminding their students that there is a difference between giving a good effort to get a grade in class and taking up an art form with the intention of making a career out of it.