I know, I know, I'm the odd one out, but let me frank about this. I know that poetry is supposed to touch us in a special way, to be interpreted to mean several things; meanings are often read into words and their construction that the author/poet himself had never intended. Of course, I studied Chaucer and Milton and Keats and all of that. And I passed those horrid exams, even quite enjoying Chaucer's 'Canterbury Tales' and the 'Olde Worlde' English that he employed. I loved Milton's 'Paradise Lost' and the vivid imagery of hell and its angels. But at that time, poetry was to me just a part of my 'A' Level English Literature. It didn't matter if it was English or African poetry. For me poetry was just a task to be completed, an exam to be passed. Poetry was 30 marks out of 100, the remainder being made up of drama and prose. I really loved the prose part. It was fun and straightforward and it captured your imagination in a way that poetry could never succeed in doing. The stories led your mind to far-off places and distant climes and times. Drama too wasn't that bad, especially when we got to do the acting and played the various parts. (I will reserve my comments about Shakespeare). Poems on the other hand leave you to work things out for yourself, and this for me just isn't cool.
Many of my friends write poems, on their blogs, in emails that I receive and so on. I often pretend to enjoy what they've penned, but not because I understand a single thing that the poem is supposed to mean. I never seem to know what to make of poems. Please, please somebody, how do I go about appreciating poetry? I feel as if I'm missing out on something that so many people derive a lot of pleasure from.