In a previous post, we ID’d our quavering metrophobes—our dear friends who fear (or hate) a nice meaty Sestina or a Didactic Cinquain or flighty tercet of Sevenlings.
I hope we, as poets, have developed a tinge of empathy for our peers. For we, too, if we are completely honest, have walked a mile or two in their bunny slippers.
Or penny loafers.
Or iambic stilettos.
And for those metrophobes who have bravely ventured thus far into the wily world of poetry, be reassured you are not alone in your fear and apprehension. A quick Google search shows that poetry is the most hated and feared of all the writing arts.
Try googling fiction fear or screen-writing fear.
It ain’t there.
But, there are loads of sites that deal with the hatred of poetry and poetry phobia.
Ironically, poets and non-poets like tend to write poems about their fear of poetry and fears in general. I venture to guess there are ZERO short stories written about the hatred of flashy fiction or fear of novels.
A lost tacky art?
While “poetry has retained its importance as an art form”, wisegeek writes that poetry has “become undervalued as an effective form of communication and expression of true emotion.”
“Poetry is viewed as a tacky and unnecessary form of communication created by few and enjoyed by fewer. But what really makes poetry difficult for many people to enjoy and understand has less to do with poetry’s perceived value and more to do with how people receive information today.”
It’s quick and easy, whereas, poetry can take some time to digest. It may be shorter than a novel, shorter than flashy fiction, even, but it packs a punch.
Wisegeek goes on to suggest that perhaps we have lost the ability to enjoy the musicality of words.
But, I’m here to say, I think it may have always been this way.
Not everyone loves origami.
Not everyone enjoys building sand castles.
Not everyone looks forward to sculling. (Although, I’m learning to enjoy an indoor version of it.)
And not everyone loves a Kyrielle or Ghazal. It leaves them shaking in the their cowboy boots. Or moccasins. Or jellies.
Feeling left out?
But, for those who WANT to overcome their fear so they CAN learn to enjoy poetry, never fear.
The American Psychiatric Association insists metrophobia therapy is available to assist the “sufferer to strip away the negative thoughts and beliefs and recognize the creative freedom that poetry provides to both the creator and the reader.”
If you have decided that your poetry fear has interrupted your life or career and have money to spare, Change That’s Right Now* offers a program to help. An At-Home Study program and also a VIP One-On-One series. Be advised, they do caution that metrophobic drugs are not recommended.
Not sure if your metrophobia is severe? They even offer an on-line test. It will give you a “good general idea of the severity of your problem.”
If seeking professional treatment doesn’t appeal to you, there’s still hope.
Next time we’ll discover other options.
Keep those quarters coming.
*This is not an endorsement.