Who Writes Poetry These Days

Say, "I write poetry" and you're in a world entirely of your own.

Who writes poetry today? Shakespeare wrote poetry four hundred years ago. Everyone knows his famous sonnet that begins "Shall I compare thee to a summer's day?" Poetry was the stuff our English instructors forced us read in high school. You mean that people still write poetry?

Yes and not so long ago ordinary people used to write poetry. My husband's grandfather, a farmer who lived and died in the 20th century, wrote poetry in his spare time. An ordinary man whose education went no further than grammar school, why did he write poetry? He found it the best means to express himself and to record the life around him. He enjoyed it.

People still write poetry today? Yes, and it is far removed from Shakespeare's rhymed iambic pentameter. However, the once rewarding pastime has fallen in popularity. Given the instant gratification of video games and TV, poetry demands too much attention for most readers. Poetry is a puzzle the reader must put together. It cannot be assembled at first glance, but only with time and consideration of its pieces. Many people do not have the patience for the task.

Some may call it art, but for those like my husband's grandfather it was a passion: the overwhelming urge to contemplate the feelings we hold inside.

That is what poetry was to his generation, and that is what it is to the people who write it today.

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