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By Linda RiefGrowing up I never liked poetry. I shuddered each time I heard the word in school. Poetry meant finding the hidden meanings the poet had worked so meticulously to hide from his reader.
Every word was a symbol for something deep and mysterious, and our task was to unravel all the tricky nuances. I was not good at that. I rejected the entire notion of poetry with the same distaste I had for canned peas or raw oysters.
I left the reading and understanding of poetry to the intellectuals of the world. The smart kids. I was not clever enough to understand it. Poetry made me feel stupid, and that is not a good feeling. Best to simply avoid it.
Then, years later, I heard William Stafford share his poetry aloud at a reading at Phillips Exeter Academy in Exeter, New Hampshire.
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