Posted by: Tom Triumph | August 18, 2011

Metrophobia

Apparently there is a quasi-real phobia of poetry: Metrophobia.

Who knew?

First, I cannot find it in any reliable source. Even Wikipedia has no entry. It seems to be in common use, with “fear or hatred of poetry” being the most common definition.

It is listed in Urban Dictionary. You can read the entry here. I would encourage any teachers who have not used Urban Dictionary to check it out, not because it’s a reliable source (it’s judged, poorly written in a combination of vernacular and text-speak, and can be profane) but that a) your students use it, b) it is the best source for kid-lingo that you are too busy (and old) to know. For example, my wife was upset when a student used the phrase “You just gone poned”, thinking it was sexual/abusive; it’s actually quite innocent–a mispelling/typo of “owned” by a gamer that went viral.

Second, because this term has no basis in a decent citation, I want to distinguish it from any real phobias that make the heart race or lead to crippling life issues. Real phobias have real consequences.

You can shelve this to Halloween, but I like to do a writing exercise where people think of a real fear they have. Then, they write a short piece describing it, but without mentioning the fear. Students read aloud, and then the audience guesses. The ultimate goal is to have students describe the fear with such accuracy that the audience feels the fear for themselves. My greatest surprise: how many students have a fear of crossing bridges.

Life magazine has an interesting slideshow of unusual phobias. You can find it here. Because it’s Life magazine, each phobia is accompanied by an amazing photo. This can make a nice introduction to how we convey emotion to an otherwise cold, factual bit of information.

Third, a number of people define metrophobia as a fear or hatred of meterosexuals.

Now, be the cure.

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