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Old 05-22-2003, 08:39 AM   #1
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High School Poetry

I am home schooled and i just had to read Maya Angelou's "Still I Rise" and write a poem about ethnic stereotypes toward my race. I'm white. All I could think of was "uhmm...I can't dance?" lol Did you ever have to write horrible poetry in high school? I could write good poetry..and i like poetry. But the topics thye give you? Oh well. I am nearing my 18th birthday..everything i write is crap. Not going to write anything prolific by my 18th birthday. I am a hack! Bono was on the ball. Writing a good song before turning 18! lol. Many losers have made careers about songs that sound like bad high school poetry though. Avril Lavigne for example!
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Old 05-22-2003, 09:57 AM   #2
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You are right--poetry has been taken from a very beautiful and nuanced art and shoved down the throats of school students everywhere for the sake of "self-expression" and "journaling." Which is not necessarily bad to begin with, but then the hack poets of this world start demanding that their work be taken just as seriously as that of good poets. Poetry, like painting or sculpting or playing an instrument, requires years of effort and understanding to become very good.

Forcing someone to write poetry when they don't want to, or about something they don't want to write about, will only produce one sure result: bad poetry. I might sound like an elitist here, but as a working, publishing poet I *really* hate it when poetry is treated like this: as something that anyone can do on a whim or a prompt. Not anyone can do it, it is supposed to be hard, it's supposed to be heartbreaking and time-consuming and not just scribbling down some words and calling it a poem.

Sara, you have my sympathy for your horrible assignment. It would have been more productive to have you write an essay.
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Old 05-22-2003, 10:52 AM   #3
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I'm with you...in high school and I don't know how Bono did it at the age he did.
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Old 05-22-2003, 11:12 AM   #4
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I used to write tons of bad poetry. Then I realised I didn't actually have much of a point to make, so I decided to stop and laugh at Chester Bennington's instead.
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Old 05-22-2003, 11:24 AM   #5
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I work for an organization that supports writers and poets and last night at a reading a poet (the amazing Carolyn Forche) and a writer were talking about how there is this movement in the education system to make poetry 'important'; poetry is 'in', it's hot, it's hip, it's urgent. I think to be able to write poetry is a gift and while it's great that teachers encourage students to give it a go, I remember it was just incredibly stressful for me because it wasn't my gift.

Carolyn, btw, has taken 10 years to complete each of her books!
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Old 05-22-2003, 01:34 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally posted by paxetaurora


Sara, you have my sympathy for your horrible assignment. It would have been more productive to have you write an essay.
lol thanks! I just hope no one ever sees the horrible poetry i wrote for class! ugh. I did get a poem i wrote in my free time published. so it's not like i am horrible..lol
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Old 05-22-2003, 02:50 PM   #7
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I loved high school parties! Everyone would be really excited cause we had a keg of beer. Then that 1 kid who didn't know how to drink would get STUPID drunk and throw up on the new carpet. Something would always get broken and the cops would come break it up cause there were so many cars on the street. And no matter how well you cleaned, your parents always knew you had a kegger while they were away. Good times, good times
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Old 05-22-2003, 03:56 PM   #8
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I too was home schooled for my high school years. I always ignored what they wanted me to write for poetry because it was nothing I could relate to enough to care to write passionately about. So I found my own subjects to write poetry about and I consider myself moderately expressive in my words. Plus I had a lot of time to think about alot of things, not alot of experience with things but alot of thoughts- like love and what I though it would be, when I look back at what I wrote it was my lack of experience that was what sparked me to want to write in the first place.
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Old 05-22-2003, 06:57 PM   #9
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I was homeschooled too, but luckily I just wrote essays, no bad poetry.

I did, however, have to write a poem about flowers for a *college* English class. Luckily, we didn't have to turn it in or read it aloud. Mine was horrible. I'm a good writer, but poetry is beyond my talents.
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Old 05-22-2003, 08:26 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally posted by MrBrau1
I loved high school parties! Everyone would be really excited cause we had a keg of beer. Then that 1 kid who didn't know how to drink would get STUPID drunk and throw up on the new carpet. Something would always get broken and the cops would come break it up cause there were so many cars on the street. And no matter how well you cleaned, your parents always knew you had a kegger while they were away. Good times, good times
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Old 05-23-2003, 02:47 AM   #11
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Bad High School poetry is a staple. I'm not talking about the class kind though - you know the tortured self-obsessed "I am utterly alone" kind. Good times kids.

But yeah, mad sympathy on the assignment. How can you write poetry if you aren't inspired? Rediculous!!!
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Old 05-23-2003, 01:54 PM   #12
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Sorry about the problem you're in. I love writing poetry, and even I have times where I cannot think of anything to write about.

Bono's probably gone through that as well, if that helps you feel any better.

Ethnic stereotypes, eh? Well, let's see, there's the whole reverse discrimination thing that goes on sometimes...white people being called "cracker" and all that by people of other races who don't trust white people...hopefully that could help you some.

You should not be forced to write poetry, I wholeheartedly agree. Some kids in my creative writing class hated the poetry unit because they just do not like writing poetry, they think they suck at it (actually, though, when I read some of their poems in our class's creative writing booklet, there was some pretty good poems in there-they may hate writing poetry, but I liked what I did read from them). People don't like being forced to do something they don't want to do.

One other thing to consider when writing poetry-my friend Will, who loves poetry, met this poet who lives in Minnesota. He says that he doesn't like it when he sees kids from the Plains writing about snow-capped mountains and deep oceans and all that, 'cause we don't have mountains or oceans here in the Plains. He feels poets should write about what they know, what they experience in their daily lives. And that makes sense. Cornfields may not seem an ideal thing to write a poem about, but I could think of some good poems with those.

And so that's another reason why this assignment's stupid-everyone gets discriminated against at some point and time-but not everyone deals with racism. I have never, ever, in my entire life been called a racist name. Not everyone deals with ethnic discrimination, so how could you possibly write about something you may have never experienced?

Okay, now I'm babbling and getting somewhat off topic, but hopefully you'll think of something with the assignment. Good luck.

Angela
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