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Taking a Poetry Class as a Lifelong Poetry Hater

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at GWU chapter.

As much as I love reading and writing, I have never found much enjoyment in poetry. In fact, in my reading and writing habits, I have gone out of my way to actively avoid having to interact with and to understand poetry. However, this semester I have taken on the attitude that I want to explore new avenues academically and broaden my horizons. What better way to do this than to sign up for a class that exclusively centers around poetry?

Even during introductions on the first day, I found myself at odds with my classmates. Not-so-surprisingly, the vast majority of people who voluntarily sign up to take poetry classes are people who enjoy reading and writing poetry. Still, although I am a bit of an outsider in the environment, I am hoping that my peers’ enthusiasm will rub off on me.

There have only been three weeks of classes so far, but already I’m pushing myself to do things I never foresaw myself doing. For one, I’m reading a lot of poetry. Even outside of the required class readings, I find myself reading other works written by the poets we have read in class as well as reading poets that others in my class or online have recommended. 

I also decided to start dipping my toes into writing poetry of my own. Outside of required middle school writing assignments, I have never actually written poetry before. Before this month, I have never made an honest attempt to write something as personal as my own poetry. I have always enjoyed fiction writing, and I have often used writing as a means of escape. I have always loved making up my own characters and worlds. While there is value in having a creative outlet, my past creative writing experiences have all required me to forget myself and focus on a fictional story.

However, writing poetry has forced me to be more introspective. Writing poetry, I am forced to reflect on myself and my feelings. Although the few poems I have written so far are by no means perfect, I am proud of myself for writing them. Considering my own feelings and my own experiences while both producing my own and consuming others’ poetry has already been a highly valuable experience.

From Harrington Park New Jersey, Olivia is a junior at GW majoring in history and minoring in English. She plans to go to law school after college and also likes creative writing in her free time. She loves writing about entertainment and internet drama.