I majored in poetry. I’ve been out of college for about four years now. I’ve had some amazing opportunities and done some great, really fulfilling things as jobs. Still, when you major in poetry it’s as if you forfeit your right to complain about employment opportunities. It just seems so obvious and so easy to people who majored in STEM fields that English isn’t a worthwhile pursuit.
Poetry is easily seen as a heady, self-important, and self-involved art form that rarely escapes the small world of teenage drama. Many people think poetry and think rhyming, iambic pentameter, and things like “but soft, what light through yonder window breaks?”. That’s crap, and those people are dumb. More importantly, it seems pretty obvious that poetry doesn’t offer it’s students any real-life valuable skills. I’m not going to argue against that idea at length, because I am obviously biased. But let me at least briefly point out what poetry provides it’s students.
1. Poetry makes you think very deeply about small details.
2. Poetry makes you consider other perspectives.
3. Poetry teaches you to appreciate.
These three things are very valuable, and very real. I encourage everyone I know to write, when the conversation comes up. Writing is practice for being a better person. And god, do we need better people.
Even if it’s crap, keep it coming. You don’t have to major in words, and work in a coffee shop for the rest of your life, but do your best to tell the world about yourself by talking about the things you experience. Even if nobody is listening, everything needs to be said in some way, in the same way, over and over again.