“Poetry is not only dream and vision; it is the skeleton architecture of our lives. It lays the foundations for a future of change, a bridge across our fears of what has never been before.”Audre Lorde
If poetry is a tool that has the power to transform lives, then no quote sums it up better than this. But what is it about poetry in particular that gives it such tremendous power? The first clue lies in the very definition of it:
“literary work in which the expression of feelings and ideas is given intensity by the use of distinctive style and rhythm…”
Expression, feelings, ideas, intensity… these are all things that are key to being truly alive – and when combined equal a whole that is far greater than the sum of the parts.
The real beauty of poetry is that once we are open to it is all around us. No specific knowledge or training is required and no equipment is needed – it is a creative medium that is truly available to every one of us at every moment of our lives. We can use poetry to express our innermost feelings at high times and at low, when faced with beauty or ruin, life or death, hope and despair…
What are the benefits of poetry?
Both writing and reading poetry has numerous benefits. For the purposes of this article, my focus is on the act of creating poetry. Benefits of writing poetry include:
- It allows you to grow emotionally and intellectually
- It encourages you to use your insight and sensitivity in a way that can have a profound and illuminating effect.
- It allows you to express your deepest thoughts and feelings with complete freedom
- It exercises a wide range of cognitive skills
- It encourages you to develop an awareness of the larger issues of life’s meaning and the connectedness of everything and encourages a deeper, spiritual appreciation of the world
- It can help you to overcome emotional trauma and empower those who have experienced traumatic situations
- It encourages continuous learning as you broaden your range of vocabulary and methods of expression
As you look at some of the benefits described above, it is easy to see that as well as offering incredible transformative benefits in its own right, poetry can help to practice some of the other techniques already covered in this series including gratitude, mindfulness, creativity and humour to name but a few.
Inspired to have a go at poetry writing but not sure where to start? There’s a great resource here by The Poetry Society.