Poetry: Outlet for expression among younger generations

Poetry: Outlet for expression among younger generations

Juliette Zakrzewska, Reporter

You’re standing in front of your favorite coffee shop with the best scones. Something out of the corner of your eyes captures your attention. You turn around to see a flyer with the words, “Welcome new or returning poets! Have the chance to experience great creativity inside Wills Coffee Shop!” 

After a troubling day, nothing seems better than some self-care. But you have never even thought to write poetry before  – nonetheless join a class. As you walk in, a friendly individual with long red hair offers to show you how to get started with your awaiting poetry journey.

Flash forward, twenty minutes later, you’ve just finished your first poem, and never felt so free. The weight lifted off your shoulders as you experience something so new with young teens like you. This universal effect brings such comfort to those who use poetry as an outlet. 

Especially in younger generations, the use of creative methods is used in various ways- from writing a Haiku about the troubling justice system to creating a metaphorical piece, poetry comes in differing forms- all with the sole purpose of carrying a message. 

In the article, “Utilizing Poetry to Impact The Lives of Teenagers mentions, “As a powerful, literary art form, poetry continues to impact the world. Since young people are continually looking for solutions to their everyday problems, why not help them use the vehicle of poetry to navigate their various emotions “

Similarly, Sample, a 16-year-old teen attending the NYC iSchool, feels poetry has been a reliable channel for her. “There’s a lot of poetry in my life. Like I write every single day and um, I guess everyone has different outlets, and for me, writing is my outlet. If I’m feeling anything, whether it’s like happiness, sadness, anger, like I have to write about it and what comes out is poetry.” 

In particular, creative writing is used a lot when addressing current events and spreading awareness. Based on the article, Poetry as a Creative Practice to Enhance Engagement and Learning in Conservation Science, “Creativity can be both practiced and enhanced to strengthen conservation science professionals’ efforts to address global environmental challenges. We explore how poetry is one creative approach that can further conservation scientists’ engagement and learning.” Meaning, poetry has brought a new element when educating others about science. 

Sample also mentions, “I’m in BSU (Black Student Union) and a lot of the times we watch spoken word pieces, about the different topics that we like go over. And also during protests or marches, like people will recite poetry and I think like it’s a really cool way to talk about an important issue.” Explaining her idea really showed the passion that goes into activism, especially in younger generations. “I feel like a lot of the times, um when it comes to things like activism, younger people like the youth are ignored a lot, and in the past, we’ve been ignored a lot, so I feel like now it’s like a time where we are finally able to have the mic and be able to talk about certain things that are important to us,” she says. 

When it comes to awareness about more controversial topics, discussion is one of those things that a lot of people can avoid because they feel it could cause more conflict. But even if there’s conflict, it’s better than staying silent. 

English teacher Ms. Coughlin has witnessed the effects of poetry throughout her teaching. “So I’ve used poetry throughout, every year that I’ve been teaching, but I use it in different ways. Sometimes I’ve incorporated through every unit, throughout the whole year. Other times like this year, we did a whole unit devoted to poetry. It’s actually a great tool for reading comprehension and analysis because it’s bite-size pieces of really rich, delicious literature. So there’s a lot to impact from it.”   

Consequently, senior Coltrane Cho expresses his relationship with poetry, as someone who uses it mostly for art projects: “I generally do it in conjunction with drawings, and it’s generally the poetry accompanied by drawings that I either feel fit in some way in terms of just the general atmosphere of the words and kind of the emotion of those words. And the kind of general feeling of the drawings or other things like the, you know, more specific, more detailed, accurate words telling a story, and drawings specifically connecting to those words.” 

Many feel certain classes have exposed them to more creative writing and helped discover poetry’s purpose. “So I took poetry and performance, freshman year, I think it was third quarter, with Ms. Gray, and that was a while ago, but I think after that experience most of the poetry I have just had to do on my own. Recently in AP Language and Composition, we’ve been doing, um Haikus specifically we started, yeah yesterday on that,” Cho says. 

Sadly, poetry can have a bad reputation- mostly because it can be seen as too complicated and judged by its first glance.

Similarly, “Why Teaching Poetry Is So Important”  by The Atlantic states, “Yet poetry enables teachers to teach their students how to write, read, and understand any text. Poetry can give students a healthy outlet for surging emotions. Reading original poetry aloud in class can foster trust and empathy in the classroom community, while also emphasizing speaking and listening skills that are often neglected in high school literature classes.”

Since the iSchool is such a creative and open environment, it represents younger generations’ modern take on topics. Something that both poetry and the iSchool celebrate. Furthermore, Ms. Coughlin also feels teaching poetry helps connect to the younger generation, since it is more about sending out a message in an artistic way. She states, “Schools should use it (poetry) because it’s another way to introduce kids and averse them into language. In words, in diction, in the sound of words and the meaning of it. The power of them, I’m a big believer in the power of the written word.” 

With this in mind, there is always room for improvement. “I think the iSchool, I think it probably does more than some schools because we have classes that are devoted only to poetry. Can we do a better job? Absolutely,” Ms. Coughlin responded. 

To conclude, younger generations have a history of being silenced for ‘being too young to get it.’ This kind of image has put aside so many important messages, placing us in a specific spot in society that isn’t as well respected. However, things have changed. While beginning the journey of finding our voice, people are also spreading knowledge and educating. Along with that, poetry has impacted the world, one person at a time, even in the most hidden ways. 

Like Cho states, “Poetry helps you keep in a mindset where you’re always looking back to what you were, you know, what you come from, and it helps you incorporate who you were, and who you want to be, into who you currently are acting as.”

In consideration of all the points presented, the hope for this writing is to display the metaphorical connection between this article and the results of poetry. Both have the intention to connect individuals and collaborate on ideas. So as you’re reading this, think to yourself, “where do I find poetry in my life, and how has my generation brought change around the world?”