Hello readers, I’m Jeremiah Walton. I’m 18, and live in New England where I attend High School as a Senior.
In my school, I attempted to create a poetry club. I am still in the process of organizing it, and fleshing it out, but that is nowhere near the hardest part. The hardest part is finding people interested in joining.
To form a club at my school, you have to gain thirty signatures of people who may have interest in joining. I obtained thirty signatures, but the people I asked to sign would state something along the lines of, “I’ll sign the paper for you, but poetry is stupid.” Or something like, “I don’t understand poetry.” Some call poetry a “cute hobby”, using a condescending tone, speaking as if talking to a young child.
These are examples of how the youth stereotypes poetry. They take what they are taught about poetry in high school, and go no further. The teachers portray poetry as a constrictive form of literature that can be “tweaked” until it’s “correct”. They drone short lessons that showcase a handful of poems, then command the class to write one. They offer no workshop on how to improve students' work or collaborative efforts. They do not speak of slam poetry. They do not show modern poetry, or even well-known contemporary figures like Gregory Corso or Allen Ginsberg.
I recall in my English class being assigned to write one poem after the one-day-course on poetry. We were told to go for a walk that night, and write a poem about the walk. Only three other students actually went on the walk. The rest stated “O, you guys actually went for a walk? We just bullshitted the project”.
This, combined with the pressure of general society’s stereotyping of poetry, creates a negative labeling of poetry from the youth. My peers are amused by poetry. They see no depth, no merit.
I am trying to change that. Nostrovia! Poetry, a small press I founded in 2011, is dedicated towards breaking the stereotypes of poetry, particularly the youth’s.
One problem Nostrovia! Poetry had to overcome was bringing the poetry directly to them. I began distributing locally, bringing friends, and those I convinced to be curious, to Slam Free or Die, a poetry slam and open mic held by NH’s Slam Poetry Team. Slam poetry caught the interest of a lot of people.
Next, Nostrovia! Poetry began offering “Nano Poem Publications”. These are micro collections of poems, being only a single sheet of paper folded into a pamphlet. They are distributed by sliding them into collections of poetry, and any books general members of the current youth generation strike interest in. People at my school have approached me, saying they’ve found, and enjoyed, the collections. Having them approach me, and knowing Nostrovia! Poetry’s mission is being fulfilled, is utterly wonderful.
Please support Nostrovia! Poetry today! Tweet about it, share it on Facebook, or other social media platforms. Let's get the youth interested in it again.
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