Written with high school kids ["Do we have to do poetry?"] in mind.


HOW TO NOT LIKE POETRY


The game is played on a field
some 50 yards wide, 120 yards long
(including two end zones of 10 yards each),
marked off in 10 yard segments. 

It's called a gridiron
because it looks like one.
You've never seen a gridiron?
That's okay, just take my word for it.

There are eleven men on a team
that can line up in different formations.
Don't worry about that.

The ball is sort of round with pointed ends
and can take funny bounces.  
Coaches like talking about funny bounces; 
they seem to explain a lot.

Since you don't have a ball 
to throw or kick 
to see the funny ways it bounces,
you'll have to take my word for it.

The object is to get the ball across 
the goal line.  The other guys 
don't want you to, and try to stop you.
Bodies run into bodies--hard--
and sometimes they get hurt.

Since you aren't playing,
you'll just have to imagine that
or take my word for it.

Imagine too the cheers--
thousands of people standing on their feet
when someone takes the ball across the goal.

You don't really have to pay attention.
If something happens, 
you'll see it again and again
and again,
and again from a different angle.

But whatever you do,
don't read this poem again.
Don't feel its rhythm, hear its sound,
don't work until you get it.
Just take my word for it.

                 -- Jan D. Hodge
MORE Resources
  • I, Too, Dislike It Slate celebrates poets who don't like poetry. By Robert Pinsky
  • A class asignment
  • A space for folks to share their dislike of poetry
  • But I Don't like Poetry! James P. Morris The English Journal, Vol. 23, No. 7 (Sep., 1934),