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Poetry and Prose - A Cause for Pride or Shame?

by Mursil Nazir Butt

'Poetry is not a turning loose of emotion, but an escape from emotion; it is not the expression of personality, but an escape from personality. But, of course, only those who have personality and emotions know what it means to want to escape from these things.'

T.S Eliot so beautifully assigns such magnificence to poetry. In such simple words, the famous writer explains such deep thoughts. Poetry is made up of words that come from the depths of an individual's heart. The words allow emotions to flow in an uninterrupted manner. Yet, for some reason, what was once considered as the highest forms of art is now limited to a certain sector of society.

Poetry is something that is confined to the textbooks of young children. It is a mere component of an overall English course that they are required to take in order for them to be considered well versed people in the practical world. From books to notebooks, the time that these young people spend in the magical world of poetry is reduced every time the course work is revised. There are more important subjects that these individuals need to take up. Science, Algebra and Geometry are obviously more highly valued than poetry, prose and creative writing. After all, what career can one get out of the latter group?

In university, young adults are made fun of if they are interested in the classical masterpieces that have been left behind by literary geniuses. Young men, in particular, face trouble revealing their love for such areas of study. If one does join a poetry club, he is labeled as a nerd, a sissy and an 'unmanly' person.

The practical world has more regard for doctors and engineers than it does for poets and writers. Writing, as a profession, is not something everyone who is interested in it can take up. Of course there are the occasional rebels who break the chains of society and choose these professions- even become highly successful. However, such people are few and the majority of the people who are interested in such fields either remain unnoticed throughout their lives, remain underpaid and over stressed or simply give up the dream of becoming a writer.

There are countless people who choose to get a degree in Literature or language after which they apply for jobs. However, such people often find themselves unemployed or underpaid. A few lucky ones manage to get fame and success while the majority stays in the darkness. Many are then forced to take up other, low paying jobs and so the stories continue.

Poetry, literature and writing in general are forms of expression. They have sadly become dying arts in our fast paced lives. What society fails to understand is the fact that without people who write these things, the world would lose its beauty. These writers are the ones who have assigned beauty to our surroundings. A writer sees and appreciates the smallest of details in nature; details that go unnoticed by ordinary people. Writers give the world some food for the soul. Without such people, the bodies of people may remain satisfied but the souls of the human race will lurk in the darkness with a deep, unquenchable thirst.

The contribution of poets, literary scholars and writers should never be underappreciated. Not everyone can take a few words and convert them into something magical. A person who specializes in a particular field only plays the role in that field; a writer pays several different roles, each role catering to the requirements of the situation. For creativity to live on, we need to ensure that creative minds are encouraged and protected. Only then will this art continue living.

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