We are now living a world where reviews are incredibly important for many products and companies. It’s rare that a purchase is made without looking into reviews beforehand. Though this is true, I still don’t review poetry collections. I will explain why.
Poetry is Personal
I have always had a love for poetry, well not always, but for a long time I have written and read poetry with love and adoration. It has been a way I express myself, when writing, and been a way I connect and learn, when reading it. I know that there are some who love poetry and some who don’t quite understand it, but poetry can mean different things to different people and that makes it personal. Everyone will pick something different out of the same poem, based on their own experience and mindset. This makes me feel like I don’t have the right to tell someone else what a poem is about or what it may mean, because that wont be the same for everyone.
Collective ratings are HARD
Yes, I rate books, and yes I rate poetry collections on Goodreads, but rating collections is hard. I can love on poem and somewhat like the next and then dislike the third, but that doesn’t make the whole collection bad. I could love half the poems, only slightly like a third, and dislike the remainder, but that doesn’t determine my rating for it. I could rate it very high because the poems I did like really spoke to me. I could rate it low because the poems that I thought were good didn’t make me feel as much as I wanted to. All this to say is that collective ratings are hard to figure out and hard to explain.
Taking poetry apart is for school, not fun
In many English classes students are asked to dissect poems. We read them over and over and over. Line for line. Word for word. We try our hardest to decipher every minute meaning in the words and between the lines. Personally, that made poetry feel clinical and like work. I want poetry to be an experience, not a chore. Taking poems apart to try to understand what the author meant, which is often futile, takes away the emotion and the mystery that I love about poetry. I wouldn’t want to have to try and explain my own feelings toward a poem or poems and feel like I need to take them apart to explain myself. I want to enjoy them, feel something from them, learn something about myself, all while still sitting in a bit of mystery about them.
Whether you read poetry or not, review it or not, I hope you are enjoying what you’re reading.