I have a terrible confession.
I’m telling you this now because I’ve just read an article on 'poetry phobia' in a writers’ magazine.
It’s a relief to know there are other writers out there who have the same ‘problem’.
I’m not frightened.
I know the words aren’t going to jump off the page and push my head in an oven. That only happens to the people who write them.
To me, poetry is like one of those math’s problems.
If George left his house at four o’clock walking five miles an hour....
It’s giving me a headache already. For god’s sake just tell me when George will get there!
Should I blame it on English A level?
The emphasis was always on wrenching five different possible meanings from each verse.
It was even worse if the poem didn’t have any verses.
Sometimes it looks like the poet has just thrown a bunch of magnetic letters at the fridge.
‘Work that one out,’ he smirks at me, like an evil magician.
Seamus Heaney wrote a poem about his Dad doing some digging.
I argued with my teacher because I didn’t see why there had to be so many levels of meaning in it.
Why did the mud have to symbolise the turmoil of his inner life?
Why couldn’t the mud just mean mud?
There's no need to ruin it with analysis.
Now I really didn’t intend to quote poetry in my blog. But what a bunch of satisfying sounds from Heaney.
Perhaps if we hadn’t had to look so hard for the hidden meanings I might have enjoyed poetry at school.
There's a section in the article on possible treatments for poetry phobia.
I start to read it but I'm instantly agitated.
No, I don’t want to be flooded with poetry! That's a curse not a cure!
And, anyway, I’m not scared.
There is a difference, isn't there?