|"Because of the terrible trauma divorce can inflict, we're seeing a correlation between kids from broken homes and embarrassing, god-awful verse," said Dr. Ruth Wyler-Feldman, director of the Center For The American Family. "Devastated by the break-up of the family unit, these children are responding with poems awash in bathos, forced rhymes and mixed metaphors comparing their souls to rainstorms."
According to Wyler-Feldman, parental separation most often manifests itself in atrocious poems about isolation and anger.
"Just listen to the words of Ashley Bedrosian, a Pensacola, FL, 14-year-old whose parents split up last May after 17 years of marriage: 'The pain comes down like a harlequin's tears / From my room I can hear my parents screaming / What once was one heart now beats as two / From this nightmare I cannot awake, for I am not dreaming.'"
"Obviously, Ashley is bitter and heartbroken over her parents' divorce," Wyler-Feldman said. "And that's tragic, because what comes out of that bitterness and heartbreak is some of the worst poetry you'll ever hear."
The two-year study found that the rhyming of "despise" with "my eyes," as well as references to Trent Reznor and horses running wild and/or free, occur with 65 percent greater frequency in poems by children of divorced parents than in those by children from stable two-parent homes.
The Duke researchers also found a strong correlation between the nature of a particular divorce and quality of poetry. In 90 percent of divorces categorized as "amicable," the breakup results in rhyming poems, usually with irritating, "sing-songish" A-B-A-B rhyme schemes. The more acrimonious the split, however, the greater the odds of a child turning to other, more wretch-inducing poetic forms: Eighty-five percent of contested divorces end in free verse, the study found, and three in four divorces involving custody battles end in haiku.
"These children of divorce are really hurting," noted therapist Dr. Eli Wasserbaum said. "But not nearly as much as those of us forced to read this drivel."
Wasserbaum urged America's troubled couples to split up while their children are still very young. "If you have children who are, say, between the ages of three and nine, and you suspect you might not want to spend the rest of your life with your spouse, I would urge you to get divorced now," he said. "At least that way, your kids have a fighting chance to heal emotionally before they reach their prime poetry-writing teenage years, and we can all be spared reading about a beautiful rose that withers and dies because no sunlight ever fell upon it."
"The bottom line is, America's kids could be channeling their anger over the 'loss' of a parent into moving verse, but they're churning out melodramatic crap instead," said Dirk Fransette, director of the Young Writers' Workshop, a Brookline, MA, writing program for 13- to 18-year-olds. "If I have to read one more poem about a lighthouse, I am going to carve out my eyeballs."
The study has provoked strong reactions among young people nationwide.
"You just don't understand," said Ethan Cameron, 14, of Salem, OR.
Cameron, whose parents recently split up, self-publishes a literary website called Visitation Rites. Among the high-school freshman's poems: "Detention Of The Soul," "My Trenchcoat" and "Bruised."
"Saying that all our poetry is bad, well, it just isn't fair," said 15-year-old Melody Jeffords of Knoxville, TN, whose parents divorced when she was 13. "My parents and teachers just don't understand my pain. Or, as my new poem 'Trust' puts it: 'Who can you trust / With thoughts inside your head? / You can't trust anyone / Unless they're already dead.'"
Wyler-Feldman said that while the Duke study has shed a great deal of light on the link between divorce and bad poetry, there is still much to be learned.
"So much is still unknown. For example, why so much thunder and lightning imagery? Why so many references to The Crow? And why the recent rise in short stories ending with alarm clocks ringing, revealing the entire story to be a dream? We must answer these crucial questions before we can ever hope to find a cure."
Massive cut-n-paste job.....maybe you should put it in quote marks and also quote your sources.
I have to say I am amazed that time and energy has been spent on studies such as these.
Two things sprang to mind whilst I was reading this.
The first was these are children they are talking about. Do they expect children to write peotry of the same quality as Byron or Browning?
Surely what these people would term 'good poetry' would ony be written by an exceptionally advanced 'child' or the rare case when a child produces one exceptional piece of work.
Poetry is a means of expression. All are entitled to use it, and to express themselves and criticism should be confined to the classroom.
Often many of us will read poetry which speaks to us, on a personal level, but it would not be deemed 'good' by those who make such comments as those quoted here...does that make it 'bad'? Not in my book...
The second thing that sprang into my mind was are these people idiots?
|According to Wyler-Feldman, parental separation most often manifests itself in atrocious poems about isolation and anger.
What do they expect, if a child is in pain and you say write a poem that pain is going to be reflected, the content of the poem is the reflection of that. The standard of the poem in academic terms is merely a reflection on the level of their education at that time.
|The bottom line is, America's kids could be channeling their anger over the 'loss' of a parent into moving verse, but they're churning out melodramatic crap instead," said Dirk Fransette, director of the Young Writers' Workshop, a Brookline, MA, writing program for 13- to 18-year-olds. "If I have to read one more poem about a lighthouse, I am going to carve out my eyeballs |
Well let me pass you a knife Mr Fransette, because divorce does not make good poets. Surprisingly thats not what it's for.
|So much is still unknown. For example, why so much thunder and lightning imagery? Why so many references to The Crow? And why the recent rise in short stories ending with alarm clocks ringing, revealing the entire story to be a dream? We must answer these crucial questions before we can ever hope to find a cure |
A cure? perhaps you should try finding a cure for divorce if that is the reason behind bad teenage poetry.
As for asking why so many references such as those listed above, use some common sense, if children are writing, they have limited experience to draw upon and their poetry is going to contain the most dramatic references they have available to them to express their feelings about the most dramatic situation most of them will have ever encountered.
My final point would be...does that mean that poetry written by children from happy, two parent families is going to be what would be considered 'good'?
I doubt it somehow....
I can't speak for anyone else here, but I would rather have my daughter pour out her emotions in a lousy peom then feel she needs to turn to drugs and/or alcohol to make herself heard. To put down children for trying to write a poem doesn't exactly give them any reason to keep trying. I talk to my daughter, but there are things she just won't/can't tell her father, and I understand this...but at no time will I ever put her down because she tried something and wasn't the best at it. At least she will be trying.
Just out of interest, supposing that isn't a serious article...
|Vrythramax wrote: |
|Massive cut-n-paste job.....maybe you should put it in quote marks and also quote your sources. |
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An important study, bad poetry can cause massive trauma for the unwitting reader. (I'm not serious, this is intended as a joke. Writing can be very cathartic and can be a great release for kids. The more that give it a go the better.)
I would like to know the source though.
|Just out of interest, supposing that isn't a serious article... |
It is serious...it came from Duke University's Center For The American Family. I checked it out after you prompted me to wonder the same thing...
If you look a little closer you'll see that there is no Dr. Ruth Wyler-Feldman, director of the Center For The American Family at Duke university and that in fact this article was written as a joke.
it appears here
in a campus christian newsletter where they preface it saying this story is funny.
It's original source however appears to be The Onion which is a satirical news journal whose other leading headlines include things like this:
White House Had Prior Knowledge Of Cheney Threat
Aug 2005 Briefing Warned, 'Cheney Determined To Shoot Old Man In Face'
There were numerous references to this story in multiple web forums ie
This story appeared in The Onion Jan 98 issue 33.01 the link to that issue appears to be dead.
the graphics link still works though
If this story was serious then these people are idiots but it clearly was only intended as a joke.
Cool....nice investigative work hades9366! This (alleged) article had me going, I couldn't for the life of me figure out why Duke would publish something like that. Thank You for clearing it up
I mostly work as a teacher. Kids cut and paste all the time. They seem to think it'll be difficult for teachers to find the source. There's nothing wrong with quoting stuff but if you don't list your sources it's plagiarism.
On the upside I had a good laugh looking at The Onion. Well worth taking a look.
It's similar to The Chaser, an Australian version.