Why Read Poetry

1: The Power of Poetry

Reading poetry should not be viewed as a chore, as many people think, but instead appreciated as an art form capable of eliciting emotions, connecting thoughts, and conveying powerful messages to the audience. Poem reading can be a great way to relax and to challenge the mind, recalling memories of long gone moments, and sometimes even expressing the unexpressed. It is the words, the pauses, the humour and sometimes the rhythm that expresses the style of the poet.
Beginning a poem journey could be a daunting task, especially with the vast number of volumes and forms of modern poetry. However, the abundance of variety, allows us to explore our own version of the art form, allowing us to find inspiration in the depths of literature. The universalism of poetry translates in to virtually any language, connecting cultures, opening minds and showing the ethical, moral and political differences between societies.

2: Understanding Poetry

Poetry can induce personal meaning and open different worlds of imagination. A poem can open itself into various interpretations, with each reader having a different interpretation of its hidden meanings. A poem carries immense beauty and power held within its words, often hard to describe and explain. Poetry can often evoke thoughts and feelings words themselves may struggle to express.
One must be careful to not try to exclusively interpret the poem written in its original form, as none of the individual interpretations are entirely correct. Instead of trying to analyse and figure out the real meaning of the poem, readers can use the poem’s imagery to transport themselves into realms of the imagination. As they continue to unravel the poem themselves, they can begin to make sense of their appreciation and enjoyment.

3: A Unique Perspective

Living in our current society makes it easy to forget the literature of old, with its meaningful words and stories.Studying poetry allows readers to gain a unique perspective into the past, a time when stories were far more complex than today, but still easy to comprehend. It also gives us better insight into the ongoing issues of today, by provoking us to think upon their relation to history and heritage.
Reading classic poets, such as Shakespeare, Whitman, or Dickinson, we can start to appreciate the persistence of its impact over the years. It ties together humans from different countries, cultures, lifestyles and eras. It reveals the beauty of old English, even if not written in modern English, helping to deepen and intensify the reader’s knowledge and interest in the language.

4: A Mindful Experience

The main benefit of poetry reading is the opportunity to sense the power of words. Understanding the beauty and ideas behind the words has been known to increase one’s cognitive ability, allowing them to have a deeper understanding of the world around them. Poetry is composed in such a way that it encourages the reader to be very mindful of the words they are reading.
The power of poetry is the ability to hold its readers captive, without consciously having to do anything. Just the mere thought of appreciating and understanding the art of words can put many people into a state of bliss. Furthermore, poetry helps us to understand our own emotions and the emotions of others. It is the perfect bridge to cross the gap between an idea and its meaning.

5: Self Expression

The beauty of a poem lies in its ability to be used as a form of self-expression. It gives a voice to those that remain locked in forms of ideas and thoughts, providing a medium to externalise their emotions. Looking at a poem can make the reader reflect upon their own life and introduce new ideas and perspectives.
It is also an outlet for creativity, allowing you to escape into a world filled with stories, dreams and ideas. This can be particularly useful when faced with difficult situations such as depression or boredom, as the reader will have an opportunity to express their feelings in an intellectual format. Moreover, poetry encourages creativity through the appreciation of different forms, styles, and authors.

6: Social Impact

One of the most powerful aspects of poetry is its ability to impact society. Poetry is often used to speak out about the issues of the world, using its vivid words to reveal hidden stories and tap into our own inner emotions. Politics, feminism, racism, and injustice are addressed by authors to empower those without voices.
From literature to performance, poetry itself has developed into more than just writing but also a unique form of performance. Poetry slams have become increasingly popular in the last few decades as a performance and competition art while gaining immense respect as an art form and giving a platform to many artists all over the world.

7: Emotional Escape

A poem can be seen as a short journey of a moment, an emotion, or a place in time. It can often help us to understand a difficult situation, allowing us to explore our thought process and express the emotions that come with it.
For many, it is a way of escape. We can often distract ourselves from life’s difficulties by getting lost in the beauty and creativity of a poem, allowing us to tap into realms of comfort and tranquillity.
It is a way for us to pause and reconnect with the world around us, allowing us to broaden our understanding of the language of emotions.

8: Accessibility

It can be argued that one of the most appealing advantages of poetry is the ease of accessibility. For many, the thought of having to buy a whole book to read a single poem can be seen as a deterrent for those for the whole idea of reading poetry. However, this has changed recently with the introduction of technology.
The modern digital age has made poetry more accessible than ever before with thousands of poems discovered daily thanks to the internet. This has enabled poetry to be available to people of all ages, countries and backgrounds. Websites such as Instagram and Tumblr have allowed poets to connect with each other, creating a larger community of like-minded people, further emphasizing the power of connectivity through words.

9: Examining Life

When reading a poem, we can often feel like the Authors’ words have the power to make us re-examine our lives and how we live them. It offers us the opportunity to look deeper into inner thoughts and ideas that we would have never considered before. We can often make connections to past memories and reflect upon them, forming a stronger relationship to our own lives.
A poem can also take us through the full-range of emotions, from sadness to the joy of love all within a few lines and stanzas, causing us to look beyond the surface level and work our way through each emotion. Poetry encourages thoughtful, creative and intimate understanding of the world and can fundamentally shape the way we look at events during our life.

10: Connecting with Emotions

Poetry is a unique form of art, one in which the Author often expresses very intimate emotions. It is, in many ways, an emotional language. This can be a beneficial experience for the reader, allowing themselves to connect with the emotion in a completely new and different perspective, something that not many medium’s of art can offer.
Moreover, poetry can be enjoyed in a group setting. Sharing a poem and discussing it with others can be very helpful in deep discussions and can help to further broaden the readers understanding.
As with all types of literature, poetry has a great deal of power to evoke feelings and allow readers to become more attuned to the beauty and power of words, allowing them to experience stories in a way that no other form of literature can. This can be a very powerful experience, allowing readers to feel connected to themselves, to each other, and to the world around them.

Dannah Hannah is an established poet and author who loves to write about the beauty and power of poetry. She has published several collections of her own works, as well as articles and reviews on poets she admires. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in English, with a specialization in poetics, from the University of Toronto. Hannah was also a panelist for the 2017 Futurepoem book Poetry + Social Justice, which aimed to bring attention to activism through poetry. She lives in Toronto, Canada, where she continues to write and explore the depths of poetry and its influence on our lives.

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