Maybe people just don’t know how to read poems

While home on thanksgiving break, I was talking to one of my closest friends about the recent election. She was expressing concern for one of her friends that was attacked in a residence hall by two other girls she was acquainted with. What was said to her was absolutely horrifying and shocking. Perhaps the most shocking part was that the perpetrators were active members of the Christian organization on campus.

I reflected back on what I have seen on campus here at Geneseo. Then I took a look at people’s reactions. What bothers me is that some people are choosing to ignore it all together. What really bothers me is people’s response to the poem on the gazebo.

“Why can’t they post something we can actually relate to?” This phrase and it’s sheer ignorance in response to the poem makes me cringe.  I assume the person who said this was referring to the possible incomprehensible format and word choice of the poem? Maybe they just don’t know how to read poems. Or maybe they just don’t care, and would rather label it an “overreaction” to a prank. Something I also heard.

The choice to ignore such a powerful response to hate speech requires a certain type of apathy that I see as violent. If you are a bystander, and you choose to ignore this conversation altogether instead of listening to people that feel unsafe on this campus, then you are doing a direct violence to your fellow community members. That is unacceptable and dangerous.

I challenge other members of this community to use their interdisciplinary knowledge, and read the poem. Acknowledge it’s voice. Even without having read interdisciplinary by Joe Moran, it should be plain to see that poetry is very relevant to communicating important ideas and messages. Especially at a time like right now, voices need to be heard.

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