Poetry: what it should and should not be?

Roasting Rupi Kaur, and understand what poetry is (and what it’s not) – an informative article

Who is a poet? What is poetry? What does poetry mean? And many other questions in this vague genre of literary terms are best left untouched if we are about to discuss something specific and immediate. Today, I will be roasting Rupi Kaur as a poet and her (absent) style of poetry. Don’t be shocked, feel surprised when you see it though, it’ll just be friendly banter and nothing else. Also, moving ahead in the article, I will put forth my thoughts on poetry and literature in general. Hope this new style of writing resonates with readers of Active Reader Book Blog. Encourage me with your comments if you like this piece and I will write more.
In the world of literature, poetry has always been a powerful form of expression that can evoke emotions and convey profound messages in just a few lines. However, the definition of what constitutes poetry is ever-evolving, and the debate on what makes a poem great continues to this day. In this article, we will explore the characteristics of good poetry and take a look at examples from various poets, including the controversial Rupi Kaur. Not only controversial because of her lack-everything-have-nothing poetry, but also because of her political postures that often make her stand in line with extremely dubious and controversial figures. But first, let’s begin with the roast of Rupi Kaur. 
Rupi Kaur’s poetry often feels like a collection of fortune cookie messages that have been left out in the sun too long. They’re short, they’re fragmented, and they’re about as profound as a puddle after a ‘light’ drizzle.
Take this gem, for example:
“i am made of water
of course i am emotional”
Wow, Rupi, you’re made of water? I never would have guessed! And to think, all this time I thought humans were made of stardust and dreams. Silly me. Great help and much appreciated! 
And let’s not forget this classic:
“you are a museum of natural disasters
can i be an exhibit”
Oh, the irony of being a museum of natural disasters when your poetry is a disaster in itself. But hey, at least you’re consistent, right?
But wait, there’s more!
“i am a museum full of art
but you had your eyes shut”
Rupi, you’re not a museum full of art. You’re more like a roadside attraction with a giant ball of twine. People might stop and take a look, but they’re not going to be impressed.
So, there you have it. Rupi Kaur’s poetry: where imagination goes to die and metaphors are as rare as a unicorn sighting. But hey, at least it’s short and easy to read, right?



Hold on! There’s something more you must see. On the promise of not being exposed, someone sent this nicely written one-paragraph roast to be included in this article:

Oh, dear Rupi Kaur, the queen of Insta-poetry, with a crown made of clichés and a throne of banality. Your poems are like a broken record, repeating the same old lines that even a toddler could write. You’re the embodiment of “simplicity” taken to the extreme, making readers wonder if you’ve ever experienced an emotion that wasn’t borrowed from a self-help book. Your work is a testament to the fact that you can’t judge a poet by their Instagram followers. With lines like “i am water / of course i am emotional,” you’ve single-handedly made a mockery of the entire poetic tradition. But hey, at least you’ve got a knack for arranging words in short, easy-to-digest fragments, right? Rupi, you’re the poetic equivalent of a participation trophy – just showing up and being “deep” is enough for some people. But don’t worry, we’ll keep scrolling past your “profound” musings, searching for a poet who can actually make us feel something other than secondhand embarrassment.
Now, we will get straight to the serious business of poetry. Reading and writing ‘good and meaningful’ poetry does require a basic understanding of universally accepted virtues of poetry. Though not required by all the accepted great poets, per se, these landmark qualities do make a poem more visible, relatable, enhanced in terms of imagery and likeable. Lack of these, of course, can have an otherwise impact.

What Poetry Should Be:

  1. Authentic and original: A good poem should be an honest expression of the poet’s thoughts, feelings, and experiences. It should be original, with a unique voice that sets it apart from others. For example, in “Savitri,” Sri Aurobindo adds more depth, layers and shine to the already existing grandeur of Savitri, the divine manifestation of Shakti! This is what great poets have been doing for centuries… 
  2. Thought-provoking: Poetry should make readers think, feel, and reflect on the subject matter. It should challenge conventional thinking and offer new perspectives. Consider the poem “Footfalls echo in the memory” by T.S. Eliot, which explores the theme of regret and missed opportunities.
  3. Evocative and imaginative: A good poem should create vivid images in the reader’s mind, using sensory language and figurative language, such as metaphors and similes. For instance, in the poem “Rainbow,” William Wordsworth uses the rainbow as a metaphor for permanence and weaves his thoughts around it. 
  4. Rhythmic and musical: Poetry often has a rhythmic quality, with patterns of stressed and unstressed syllables that create a musical effect. This can be seen in the works of poets like William Shakespeare, who used iambic pentameter to great effect in his sonnets.



What Poetry Should Not Be:

  1. Clichéd and predictable: A good poem should avoid overused phrases and predictable patterns. It should offer something fresh and surprising to the reader. Unfortunately, some of Rupi Kaur’s poetry has been criticised for being clichéd and lacking originality.
  2. Superficial and shallow: Poetry should delve deep into the human experience, exploring complex emotions and themes. It should avoid being overly simplistic or sentimental. In some instances, critics have pointed out that Rupi Kaur’s poetry lacks depth and relies too heavily on simple language and easy-to-digest concepts.
  3. Overly abstract and obscure: While poetry can be thought-provoking and imaginative, it should not be so abstract or obscure that it becomes difficult for readers to understand. A good poem should strike a balance between being accessible and thought-provoking.
  4. Lacking in structure and form: Although contemporary poetry often breaks traditional rules of form and structure, a good poem should still have a sense of coherence and organisation. It should use elements like line breaks, stanzas, and punctuation to create meaning and enhance the reading experience.


Read more:

How to Study Poetry?

20th Century English Poets



The art of poetry is a delicate balance between form and content, originality and accessibility. While there is no definitive answer to what makes a poem great, the examples and guidelines provided in this article can serve as a starting point for understanding and appreciating the art of poetry.

Hope you liked the new feature on Active Reader – roasting an artist of words. All the best!

By Ashish for Active Reader

On Roasting Rupi Kaur, and understand what poetry is (and what it’s not) – an informative article

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