The Power of Poetry

Earlier this month I shared a piece of poetry in my second ever vlog, in which I set my intentions for the year ahead. One of these intentions was to share more poetry.

As I sat down today to write my blog, I looked at my notes. I had planned to write something on writing to create real connection. I had scribbled down some notes on understanding your audience, actually caring about them and how they want to feel before even beginning to craft your message (this is why I prefer to work with smaller, heart-centred businesses)… But then my mind wandered. I probably will write that post someday but today is not that day.

Having set my intention to write and share more poetry, this has been on my mind more and more. I have written some new poetry but nothing share-worthy so far this year. I was looking through other poems and books for inspiration and was reminded of how many different ways I use poetry – in my coaching work as well as commissioned pieces for business and personal use – and why it is such a powerful medium.

There is something about poetry that bypasses the conscious mind. So often, things we know but perhaps are not ready to admit or confront, we shut down using intellectual arguments. But as Lewis, Amini and Lannon, authors of A General Theory of Love (a fascinating book on the science of human emotions) say,

“Where intellect and emotion clash, the heart often has the greater wisdom.”

So, for those who are open to it, poetry can be the quickest way to speak directly to that inner wisdom. It tricks the conscious mind with its pretty metaphors and slips in discreetly, so that emotions are stirred before you even begin to really process the what the words mean.

Improbable poetry_WritingPeoplePoetry

Words, say Lewis, Amini and Lannon, can only be understood by the neocortical brain, the most recent brain in terms of evolution and the only one that can process the abstract… But it is the earlier limbic brain – the brain responsible for communication and emotional connection – to which poetry speaks.

This is well illustrated by a comment on the poem I shared in my last blog, in which Alice from The Filling Glass said “You said so many interesting things here I couldn’t take it all in”. I’ve also had people say, “I have no idea what you said but I feel good”! And there are so many lines I’ve heard and read – too many to list here, and many of which I cannot fully recall, that have moved me in ways that reason cannot explain. What I remember is the feeling. It’s a knowing, an understanding, a realisation, an acceptance. It starts in my chest and rises, often spilling over as my eyes fill with emotion.

This is why I my love affair with words will always begin and end with poetry. It’s why I started writing and no matter what else I am writing, it is still Why I Write.

What are your thoughts on poetry? Do you like it? Does it move you in the ways I’ve described or does it leave you cold? I’d love to know your thoughts so please do leave a comment below!

Like this? Sign up for more!

19 thoughts on “The Power of Poetry

    • Doesn’t it? Sometimes I write stuff that doesn’t even make sense to me at the time… Then I come back to it later and think ‘Ah yes..’

  1. I’m encouraging my daughter to write poetry, as she’s good at it. At nine, her reading and comprehension skills are excellent, but she doesn’t actually enjoy reading. I thought she might be inspired by writing poems instead. They are say so much in so few words and she is inspired by authors like Shel Silverstein, who proves that you can write interesting and meaningful poetry for kids. We will see what she comes up with.

    • Oooh I would love to see what she comes up with if you (and she) are up for sharing! I think I first wrote some ‘proper’ poems around that age…

  2. You’ll probably know already that I love poetry (what with writing it, reading it and publishing it). And the way you describe the power it has to reach us, almost subconsciously, is concise and absolutely right: “There is something about poetry that bypasses the conscious mind.”

    I really think you have a gift for performance poetry (which is something quite different from poetry on the page) – I think the way you perform your poetry really makes it come alive. 🙂

    • Thanks Marija! I actually first shared my poetry with a wide audience through spoken word events and the style stuck, although I write other stuff too… This poem is from back then. I even won a couple of awards but just sort of dropped out of the scene and moved on to other things. I may dust off my performance wings again some time though 😉 – Thanks for the compliment, It means a lot from you especially! x

  3. I love your written poetry but I love, love LOVE it when you perform it. Marija is right – you make it come alive. And reading your explanation of the way poetry affects us makes sense to me, I find when poetry speaks to me it REALLY speaks to me, like it gets right into my heart and my brain and makes all sorts of connections fire – both cerebral and emotional. I listened to this with tears in my eyes. AGAIN. I think you are a fabulous poet. Thanks so much for linking to #WhatImWriting

  4. Wow, wow, wow! That is such a powerful piece. I found myself nodding as you read, it was like you were inside my head reading my thoughts. Thank you for sharing this, it really resonated with me.

    • Wow thanks Jo! Glad it resonated with you… and good luck with your competition entries (because you’ll enter more, now that you’ve started.. right?) 🙂 x

  5. I used to write poetry and then life hot crazy and I told myself my creativity was killed by all the stress, but the more I get in touch with my inner self, the more the writing comes back to me….and I realize I miss it. Great post!

    • Thanks Melissa! It’s funny isn’t it, sometimes we don’t realise how important something is to us until we take a break from it and return to it…

  6. I really love poetry, for all the reasons you list here and more. Poetry is actually at the heart of my first novel that I was reworking last week – I’d forgotten quite how important it was but it does effectively save my teenage protagonist! I must find time to listen to your vlogs – I’m typing this whilst my son sleeps right next to me, and as usual I don’t have headphones anywhere near! Having read other peoples’ comments though I’m very much looking forward to hearing your poems 🙂 xx

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *