Apparently, Blanco's poem, which deeply moved me, only made some people want to change the channel on their television sets until another person, presumably cooler than a poet, took the stand.
Granted, poetry can genuinely not be for everyone; but the fact that people could turn away so quickly from such a fine art without even trying to understand it upsets me.
What I don't get is how there are people out there who still insist poetry must rhyme! What is happening in our educational system that's keeping people from recognizing the beauty and power in poetry whether it is written in rhymes or in free verse form?
As a writer, I know how much poetry means to me on a personal level. When I was first formally introduced to poetry in the seventh grade, I suddenly felt free to express myself.
The young Xiomara was a very quiet girl who didn't confide much in others and whose shyness overwhelmed my desire for closeness with others. Poetry allowed me to open up, to expand my world, to describe and analyze my life and express my ideal world. Why would we deny ourselves such freedom?
What I don't get is how people who probably took the time to really listen to the words that were sung by Beyonce at President Obama's Inauguration couldn't find the mental capacity to really listen to the universal message of hope that Blanco recited.
Worse yet, will these people pass on the message that "Poems are boring and incomprehensible" to their children, thus breeding more generations of people who will not appreciate poetry for the healing, empowering and often social-justice-wielding art form it is?
It's a dismaying thought, which is why I appreciate Disney Junior's "Poetry Is" campaign, featuring narrated poems on the children's channel. Children's books share poetry all day long--yes, most of the poems they read rhyme--but it's an important introduction into the world of the creative arts.
Check out Sara Coleridge's poem, "The Months" above. It's narrated by Kenneth Branagh and set to cute Disney video clips.
I hope that we can continue to incorporate poetry into our lives through books, television programming, and, yes, into many more Presidential Inaugurations.
Do you like poetry? Why or or why not?
Do you think poems are purposeful or a waste of time?
Check Out My Own Poetry On Equis Place: