8 Reasons Why Poetry Is Good for the Soul

Here’s a guest post from KM Barkley, a writing coach and editor from Lexington, Kentucky, in which he shares his eight reasons why poetry is good for the soul. If you have an idea for a guest post too, just send an e-mail to robert.brewer@fwcommunity.com with the subject line: Poetic Asides Guest Post.

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The Digital Age is booming. That means attentions are shrinking and focus is altering. With 140-character communication on Twitter, picture and visual postings on Pinterest, and classrooms shying away from difficult material in favor of easy reading and easy grades, poetry has become one of the most underutilized, and underestimated, mediums in modern culture.

I think Phyllis Klein from Women’s Therapy Services said it best: “Turning to poetry, poetry gives rhythm to silence, light to darkness. In poetry we find the magic of metaphor, compactness of expression, use of the five senses, and simplicity or complexity of meaning in a few lines.”

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Recreating_Poetry_Revise_PoemsRe-create Your Poetry!

Revision doesn’t have to be a chore–something that should be done after the excitement of composing the first draft. Rather, it’s an extension of the creation process!

In the 48-minute tutorial video Re-creating Poetry: How to Revise Poems, poets will be inspired with several ways to re-create their poems with the help of seven revision filters that they can turn to again and again.

Click to continue.

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1. POETRY IS GOOD FOR DEVELOPMENTAL LEARNING

In child education, children’s verbal and written skills are somewhat underdeveloped. Poetry helps by teaching in rhythm, stringing words together with a beat helps cognitive understanding of words and where they fit. Additionally, it teaches children the art of creative expression, which most found highly lacking in the new-age educational landscape. In essence, poetry gives them a great tool for developing one’s self.

2. POETRY IS GOOD FOR DEVELOPING SKILLS

Writing, speaking, and understanding can all be greatly influenced and nurtured by the use of poetry. Learning rules for writing, and then breaking them with poetry, can give writing alternative beauty. Speaking poetry aloud with its beat, rhythm, and rhyme can loosen the tongue and craft a firm foundation for verbal communication. Learning to understand poetry also gives the mental fortitude, as well as the drive, to understand written communication (an invaluable trait in business, from my perspective).

3. POETRY HELPS IMPROVE IDEAS

Have you ever sat there and not known what to write? Picking up poetry, reading through different excerpts from classic poets can blossom ideas you never knew existed. Reading and writing poetry makes you think of new ideas, but can also dramatically change the way you perceived old ones. It is a way to process experiences, visual descriptions, and emotions.

4. POETRY IS THERAPEUTIC FOR THE WRITER

Biblio/Poetry Therapy is a creative arts therapy using the written word to understand, and then communicate, feelings and thoughts. Poetry is typically short, but largely emotional. Writers get in touch with sentiments they might not have known they had until it was down on paper. Depression and anxiety are among the top two mental illnesses being treated with Biblio-therapy, and through poetry, one can start to understand the hindrances and blocks being formed around their mind. Expressing how one feels is difficult. I’ve found that poetry is one of the best outlets.

5. POETRY IS THERAPEUTIC FOR THE READER

For those who have a harder time expressing themselves, reading poetry can have a similar positive effect as writing it. Reading poetry allows one to see into the soul of another person, see what is weighing on their minds and on their hearts, and can open doors to feelings that are sometimes suppressed until that door is opened. Reading can shine a light on all those dark and hidden crevices of the heart and mind once thought permanently closed off to the world.

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Poet's Market 2016

Poet’s Market 2016

Get Your Hands on the Poet’s Market!

The 2016 Poet’s Market, edited by Robert Lee Brewer, includes hundreds of poetry markets, including listings for poetry publications, publishers, contests, and more! With names, contact information, and submission tips, poets can find the right markets for their poetry and achieve more publication success than ever before.

In addition to the listings, there are articles on the craft, business, and promotion of poetry–so that poets can learn the ins and outs of writing poetry and seeking publication. Plus, it includes a one-year subscription to the poetry-related information on WritersMarket.com. All in all, it’s the best resource for poets looking to secure publication.

Click to continue.

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6. POETRY HELPS YOU UNDERSTAND THE SIGNIFICANCE OF WORDS THEMSELVES

By design, poetry is broken into short, but strategic sentences. By doing so, writing and reading poetry makes one understand the significance of every single word and their placement. Sometimes, without a single word, it can change the entire rhythm and meaning of the poem itself. Writing poetry forces the person to consider, and reconsider, each piece and length of their verses. In poetry, words are magic, moods, depth, and difficult. One gains the utmost appreciation for them when handling delicate sentence structures provided in poetry pieces.

7. POETRY HELPS YOU UNDERSTAND PEOPLE

One of the hardships of the current age is the ability to understand one another. Miscommunication and misunderstandings lead to mass amounts of frustration. Reading and writing poetry actually gives people the improved ability to understand others. From a writer’s prospective, you have to be able to convey the true nature of your writing to an unknown reader. That means diving deep into what parts you want them to understand, what you want them to feel, and what to take home with them that will resonate long after reading. For a reader of poetry, it gives you the patience to look into someone else’s mind and cultivate empathy for another person. Both conveying personal opinion and the ability to empathize are tantamount to respectable communication.

8. POETRY HELPS YOU UNDERSTAND YOURSELF

Ever felt out of place? Have you ever wondered why you are thinking or feeling a certain way? Ever been frustrated because your friends or partners couldn’t ever possibly understand you because you don’t even understand what is going through your head? I have found that the best way to grasp internal turmoil is to write poetry. It slows the world down around you. It streamlines your thoughts to short, direct sentences, while soothing the anxiety out of your body with the lyrical style. It makes you think. It puts a spotlight on what the issues might be and forces you to logically and methodically answer to it. Poetry can give you insights into yourself that you never knew existed but always wanted to understand. There is no greater sadness than not knowing one’s self-worth, but there is no greater power than complete understanding of one’s identity. Poetry can give you that power.

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KM Barkley

KM Barkley

KM Barkley is a writing coach and editor from Lexington, KY. He has written articles for professional corporate HR training and has edited novels as well as scripts and screenplays for The Art Institute of Houston. He is an active member of Writer’s Digest and The Warrior Forum.

Barkley launched http://WriterIntellect.us – a hub for writing tips for Aspiring Authors, Bloggers, and Corporate HR Business.

Find him on Twitter @writeBarkley.

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2 thoughts on “8 Reasons Why Poetry Is Good for the Soul

  1. tripoet

    Another comment- not from me but from Gloria Jean

    Dear Annie:

    Very thought provoking. I printed it, so I can keep it with my poetry file.

    Thank you.

    XOXO, Gloria Jean

  2. tripoet

    This was a great article and how you wrote it helps in the sharing of it. Thank you very much. I have already forwarded to many teachers and poets with whom I am friends. I think that sometimes people can forget that poems aren’t just about “sounding and looking good”. Just like people that way. Words are capable of making life changes but the poets who write them often need to remember that this includes them too so your points on understanding self and others, I particularly enjoyed. 🙂 Again, thank.

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