Mineral Wells Index, Mineral Wells, TX

July 4, 2011

Writers' corner: Poetry and why kids write it

Mineral Wells Index

By Gerald Warfield | Special to the Index

One would think, with reading and literacy on the decline, that poetry would fade away into complete obscurity. But the immense popularity of music, especially with young people, has given a new energy to the medium.

Country western singers and rappers, in particular, routinely employ the standard literary techniques of poetry like double entendre, alliteration, simile and metaphor. As a result, even standalone poetry is enjoying a resurgence.

In April, former Texas Poet Laureate, Larry D. Thomas was in residence at the Texas Mountain Trails Writers’ Retreat in Alpine, Texas. I asked him why poetry was so popular with kids, and he said that the crucial factor was the intensity and immediacy with which emotions could be expressed. Kids have always responded to that.  

I agree. The historical union of poetry, music, and youth can hardly be overestimated.  In ancient times, great works of literature like the Odyssey, Beowulf, even the Epic of Gilgamesh, were all chanted by bards if not outright sung with musical accompaniment.  And, like today, those early bards, the singers of their day, were trained at a very early age.

To celebrate National Poetry Month in April, Boyce Ditto Public Library held a poetry reading attended by mostly high school students. They gave dramatic readings of their own and published poetry in English and in Spanish. Open mic night at the library has also brought out a variety of singers and poets.

If you’d like to show off some of your poetry at the next open mic night simply “friend” Boyce Ditto Public Library on Facebook for the dates. If you write poetry and would like to improve your craft, consider joining the Brazos Writers Group that meets every fourth Tuesday at 5:30 p.m. at Boyce Ditto Library.

Gerald Warfield is an award-winning writer of fantasy and fiction and member of the Brazos Writers Group and Friends of Boyce Ditto Public Library. See his blog at www.geraldwarfield.com.