Being thoughtful on “academizing” and accessibility in poetry writing

In my experience what has drawn me to poetry was its accessibility in terms of being able to produce art from an “ameatur” standpoint and having others quickly “get it.” I encapsulate a thought that comes to me and write it down and share it with friends and peers. Lately, after taking classes in graduate school I have come across terms, concepts, and frameworks that broaden my expression in writing. As scholars what we learn has a use in helping others and affects the way we engage the world to achieve justice. This has also affected my poetry writing. I feel like my poetry has been “academized.” I am not outright stating that is inherently wrong but rather it has me concerned about the accessibility of my writing. Recently whenever I finish with a piece I feel that my content and its relevance with my intended audience has lost its way due to language. I am wondering if others can relate with this and have ways in bridging this? This can also extend to academic writing and publishing. How can we reconcile academic language that we need while being thoughtful of having our works accessible?

2 responses to “Being thoughtful on “academizing” and accessibility in poetry writing”

  1. Thank you for the reponse Mechelle!
    I relate about being a first generation college student and interacting with family members at home. Sometimes I can frustrated that what I learned is not taken seriously at home, but I also want to reframe how I react to it. Am I explaining myself well enough? What is the positonality of my parents/family members to the langauge I am using?
    This goes back to poetry writing and accessiblity. I want my audience to be members of the LGBTQ community who can relate with my lived experiences and foster futures. That is why I am keeping my mind my content and the way it can reach out to different people. Also your statement of “I think as we grow, we find our voice again and again,” is amazing and very true. 
    Thank you!

  2. Luke, this is excellent!! I hope that you will share some of your poetry!! 
    In PK-12, we call the change in language between scholarly and informal co-switching. I am the first to go to college on my mom’s side of the family. When ever I would go home from college, if I spoke about my clases and used academic languange some individuals in my family would say that I was “acting all high and mighty” and “that my rich friends were not a good influence on me.” I was learning language that they couldn’t relate too. I talked to one of my mentor profs at the time. She said that it is common when one is the first in the family to start to hide their newly acquired languages and/or insights. Afterall, we want to belong. 
    With code-switching, it is a quesiton of who is your audience? Also, do you want to write for yourself or others? Or both? I think as we grow, we find our voice again and again. 
    Best of luck to you as you write your poetry.