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Wilfried F Voss

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My Problem With Modern Poetry
by Wilfried F Voss   
Rated "G" by the Author.
Last edited: Monday, November 07, 2011
Posted: Monday, November 07, 2011

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In all consequence, whenever I crave for the beauty of words, I'll stay with the masters. Modern poetry has to do more to get my attention, and that final statement finds evidence in modern poetry's success or lack thereof.

 I am sure, I am missing something when it comes to modern poetry. I just don't get it. Really. They're a pile of nice words, but what's the point? Yes, I may be old-fashioned when it comes to poetry. In my world poetry rhymes, and what I have seen of modern poetry, they generally don't.

So, what is it with modern-day poets and wannnabes? Are they just lazy? Looking at examples of modern poetry, several thoughts come to mind:

1. Apparently, making the poem rhyme was too much work, which is not a characteristic of an artist.

2. If you put the words together in grammatically correct sentences, you might get a nice essay. Well, provided they're long enough.

3. Sorry, more acid... If I had the time and would put my mind on it, I could come up with at least one poem of the same quality a day.

Let's have a look at one randomly selected piece of modern poetry:

How Can I Leave Again


Two years later
you clank into your same old space,
stop your ignition with a screwdriver,
glance idly over.
For an instant I am a mirage.

This is how you live
limping in a haze
towards me
agape with surprise.

We ascend stairs to our past.
The sky spins
leaves rustle too loud
breezes clamor to be let inside.
Curiosity everywhere.


First of all, my apologies to Judith Pordon to single her work out to underline my complaint about modern poetry. I just googled "Modern Poetry," and her website came up on the first page (Congratulations to Judith for being on top). Nevertheless, the excerpt of above poem is representative for the problem I have with modern poetry, especially if I compare it to classic poetry.

The Lady Of Shalott

by Alfred Lord Tennyson (1809 - 1892)

On either side the river lie
Long fields of barley and of rye,
That clothe the world and meet the sky;
And thro’ the field the road runs by
To many-tower’d Camelot;
And up and down the people go,
Gazing where the lilies blow
Round an island there below,
The island of Shalott.

This is only the first verse out of nineteen (See the full version plus the live musical version by Loreena McKennitt at, they all rhyme, and they tell a wonderful story. Admittedly, we are talking Alfred Lord Tennyson, whose ability it was to write poetry of extraordinary beauty and passion.

However, we don't have to go that far back to explore further examples of great poetry.

April, Come She Will

by Paul Simon

April, comes she will,
When streams are ripe and swelled with rain.
May, she will stay,
Resting in my arms again.

June, she'll change her tune.
In restless walks she'll prowl the night.
July, she will fly,
And give no warning to her flight.

August, die she must.
The autumn winds blow chilly and cold.
September, I'll remember.
A love once new has now grown old.

Guess what, this is not only great poetry. Paul Simon even composed the music to the words. Which came first, the words or the music, I don't know; it doesn't matter. As a matter of fact, many - not all - modern pop songs rhyme (An endless repetition of one sentence - think "Say what you need to say" by John Mayer - doesn't count, though).

I could go on proving my case, but enough now. In all consequence, whenever I crave for the beauty of words, I'll stay with the masters. Modern poetry has to do more to get my attention, and that final statement finds evidence in modern poetry's success or lack thereof.

So, whether you agree or you'd like to give me a written bashing, please leave a comment below. I am always willing to learn.

Web Site: Wilfried F. Voss: My Problem With Modern Poetry

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