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Why poetry is dying

Updated on November 5, 2015

Influence of this article

Her words inspire greatness
Her words inspire greatness | Source

Only the very weak-minded refuse to be influenced by literature and poetry

Literature and poetry. These are two words that have caused a lot of controversy over the centuries. The reason being, that literature and poetry are forms of art. The narrow minded humans have always attempted to suppress any expression of art. This is because art deviates from the norms of society. Art cannot be controlled or calculated, rather it is a medium of communication from the heart and soul of an individual. The famous American Author, Cassandra Clare said, “Only the very weak-minded refuse to be influenced by literature and poetry”. I am too of this opinion.

Literature and poetry is an art form conveyed through the use of words. Words are arguably the most important invention of humanity. Ultimately words are the central dogma of being a human. It is what separates the humans from the animals. So then why has society trivialised poetry and demeaned the importance of literature? Why has the government and churches continuously caused an uproar over poetry? Is it because the words used are derogatory? The truth is that society is scared. They are scared to hear truth that is often conveyed through poetry. They fear change. They are terrified by the notions put forth by poets and authors. A great example of this is a poem written by the Chris van wyk during the apartheid era in South Africa. His poem is titled “in detention”. The poem outlined the true conditions of the prisons in South Africa at the time. It explicated through ironic humour how the government was hiding the manner in which the black men in the prisons died. Chris van wyk was reprimanded and his poem banned. This is proof of how the weak minded government and public of South Africa refused to be influenced by his poetry which in hindsight proved to be true.

The complete disregard for poetry and literature is especially highlighted in our modern society. This beautiful form of art is slowly but surely withering away into oblivion. The last decade has been particularly critical in hindering the progress of poetry and language. A teenager cannot walk into a school in our generation with his head held high and tell his/her friends, “This weekend I went to a poetry reading”, or “I read the most riveting book”. The friends will tease him/her. Words such as “gay”, “geek” and “psychopath” will be flung his/her way. When did society decide it is GAY to appreciate a marvellous poem? This might all sound quite ridiculous but it is the sad truth. Do you think this only applies to teenagers?

You could not be more wrong. A few years ago, in 2012, a petition was held by the parenting board of a private school in Johannesburg. The petition broadly requested to minimise the amount of poetry taught in the school. The reason for this being, “Poetry is corrupting the minds of our youth”. I was absolutely enraged by this notion. If anything, literature and poetry stimulates and enlightens the youth.

In conclusion, I fully support the statement of Cassandra Clare. My position on this is clearly stipulated above. Poetry and literature are a great example of how words can be used for the right reasons such as to convey truth, to capture historical events, to predict and warn of future events. After all it is the visionaries and the greatest minds of our time that are wise enough to be influenced by this art, because they can appreciate the art. Those who cannot appreciate it are weak-minded and quite possibly ignorant to ignore such an art.

Poetry strengthens the mind

Poetry must live on!
Poetry must live on! | Source
Read these words and ponder
Read these words and ponder | Source

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© 2015 Yaseen Essack

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