Digte, den litterære broccoli

Jeg forsøger for tiden at overvinde min livslange modvilje mod poesi, så det var lidt sjovt at falde over denne artikel: When, Exactly, Do Children Start Thinking They Hate Poetry?

There are no haikus in my own collection. The closest, unintentionally, may be a few lines on an early edition of the back cover: “Hey kids! / Do you (think you) hate poetry? / This book is for you.” I have mixed feelings about that message, and not just because it’s a terrible haiku. On the one hand, yes, this book is for you, please buy it. On the other hand, when we tell kids “You won’t hate this poetry,” I wonder if we’re subtly telling them that they should hate most poetry.

It reminds me of that classic parental con line, “You might not like most vegetables, but this vegetable is delicious—try it!” When did poetry become literary broccoli? What’s next, cheerfully singing, “Here comes the airplane!” before we start reading a sonnet into our kids’ ears?

Chris Harris er sjov, men han hater også lidt på haikuer – i al fald brugt mod børn (eller okay, med børn, måske).

Note that I didn’t say “no rules.” I’m not some goateed, bomb-throwing anarchist. Rhythm and meter and emotions are still important to consider, even at the earliest stages of learning poetry. The point is more that instead of just handing them syllabic blueprints, let’s make sure kids get the chance to play around with words—finger paint with them—the way we let them explore other topics.

Deri lægger måske forklaringen på, at jeg så godt kan lide haikuer. Jeg bryder mig ikke om fingermaling, hverken bogstavelig eller metaforisk (jeg kan ikke genkende metaforer, førend de klipper sig selv ud i pap) – de er syllabic blueprints, en mulighed for at lege inden for nogle faste rammer. Og hvor andre folk sikkert lægger en masse betydningen inden for de rammer, er det mere puslespilsdelen af det, der morer mig.

Eat your poetry, it’s good for you!

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