Poetry For Dummies (Like ME!)

Posted on December 16, 2021

What do you think about when someone mentions poetry? Complex language? Big and lengthy words that you’ve not seen before in your entire life? Complicated metaphors of some philosophical concepts that you’ll never understand? Or maybe boring Shakespearian sonnets that you learnt in your English class in high school? Some poetry can indeed be very difficult and trying to understand them can be daunting. But contrary to the common opinion about poetry being boring, I find them really fun to read! 

To help you get into poetry (as you should) and be the classy bougie one in the friend group, here’s a list of 4 poets, who use accessible language, along with one of their poems that I like.

Disclaimer: The following includes my interpretation of the poems. I must stress that it is only my interpretation and I’m not trying to say this is the only correct way of understanding them. The fun of reading poetry lies in the unlimited perspective that one can take while appreciating a poem. So feel free to have your own interpretation!

Robert Frost

“Two roads diverge in a wood, and I – / I took the road less travelled by, / And that has made all the difference.” 

I mean who hasn’t heard of this quote from Robert Frost’s most famous poem The Road Not Taken. Even if you haven’t heard it, you might recognize this quote from two of Taylor Swift’s songs (illicit affair and ‘tis the damn season) where she references this poem. The language Frost uses is definitely simple enough for everyone to understand, making him one of the poets that many English teachers like. Frost always paints a vivid picture with his words so even if you don’t understand the message, you can still appreciate how beautiful the scenery is. Here’s his poem about facing the mundane and repetitive challenges in life.

Image Credit: InternetPoem.com

Mary Oliver

Are you a nature-lover? Mary Oliver has got you covered! I found this poet when I was on YouTube watching poetry recommendations and I immediately fell in love with her style and vibes. Oliver loves to use imagery of nature in her poems and you’ll just be amazed by how gracefully and skillfully she links nature to the message conveyed. With her accessible language, you can just get cozy up in your blanket on a winter morning and just enjoy the dazzling fantasy world of nature that Oliver depicts in her poems. Here’s a poem about the desire to escape idleness from her poetry collection Blue Horses.

Image Credit: Screenshot from my Blue Horses ebook

Wendy Cope

If the last two poets’ writing styles are still too difficult to understand for you, I bet Wendy Cope’s poems can open you to the wonderful world of poetry. Her poems are straight to the point almost as if she is telling you exactly what the poem is about but at the same time, it’s not too straightforward that you will find it boring. You’ll also find Cope really observant of the tiny details in daily life that she can use in her poem just like this one from her poetry collection Serious Concern where she talks about how much she loves life just from eating an orange.

Image Credit: Pinterest

Taylor Swift

I know I might cheat a little bit but Taylor’s lyrics are just so poetic that I sometimes think she’s just a poet that makes music. I must admit that her lyrics can be hard to understand occasionally but I still include her in this list as I got into poetry because of her. I think music really helps guide me to follow the lyrics and encourages me to understand them. Once I pay attention to the lyrics, I realize how clever Taylor is in using metaphors that people can relate to describe an abstract and complex feeling. This is me trying is one of my favourite songs and its second verse is so poetically stunning. 

Image Credit: Lyrics from Genius.com

Posted in Blog.

Coen is a first-year RTA Media Production student from Hong Kong who is passionate about films, music, books and anything creative… and coffee! He likes to write and is open to writing about anything. In his blog, you’ll most likely see him ranting about the last movie he saw, fanboying over Taylor Swift, maybe crying over The Song of Achilles, and many more… Oh! And also coffee. ;)