Absent Appeal (Guest Op-ed)

Our magnum opus, according to us

Noah Wymbs and Ben Rejab

Poetry is an impractical craft. Never in my life have I been faced with a task as meaningless as analyzing a poem I didn’t want to read. It’s not just the poems themselves that aren’t engaging, but it’s also the process of dissecting them that is monotonous. Students who pride themselves in their ability to objectify an ambiguous text believe they exude confidence when in reality they only expose themselves as pretentious.   

After much serious consideration, I truly cannot fathom how anyone believes that poetry can have redeeming qualities. Not only does it contribute nothing of substance to modern English, but it also adds nothing new to my overall understanding of the language. The only possible way I could see poetry analysis benefiting my life is if I were to become a teacher or a poet. After this op-ed, I doubt either of those futures are looking bright for any of the writers working on this. 

Writing something with the intent to confuse a reader is stupid and you should be imprisoned if you believe it to be profound by any measure. Your words are not greater – in importance or caliber – than those of your readers simply because its meaning is beyond their understanding. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. There is absolutely nothing artistic, innovative, or impactful about purposely confusing an audience within the time it takes to read three-to-five stanzas. It’s a lazy profession that reeks of condescension, which is an embarrassing claim coming from an op-ed department. 

During our poetry unit, we only read the work of one author: Carol Ann Duffy. I take no issue with either Duffy or her work; it’s just that the poems weren’t diverse enough in either writing style or subject matter to justify an entire unit based around her. As such, the poetry unit isn’t as much a study of the structuring or conceptualization of poetry itself as it is a study of Duffy’s rather uniform, though admittedly unique, body of work. 

Also, when we were assigned to write an on-the-spot essay about one of Duffy’s poems, our teacher selected our poems for us at random. We had a few days to prepare, but there were seven different poems we would’ve had to analyze. While a few days is plenty of time to read, annotate, and garner the basic context of a poem, it’s not enough to assume that a student can understand every poem with the same ability. Next time, please either let the students choose the poem they wish to analyze or at least choose one for us in advance!

In conclusion, poems suck. Whether it be the way they are taught or the way we analyze them, poems suck. This was a great op-ed and it was an even greater team effort so don’t try to argue with us. Go Mavs.