I’ll separate the experiences we have with poetry into two categories: reading and writing. We then have the reasons one might read or right poetry; enlightenment, recreational and I’ll label the last one as “supportive”. Supportive here includes any therapeutic effects writing or reading may have on us. Here’s another list for you guys! This list will highlight the real benefits of poetry, which are ultimately dependent on the reasons you write. Click this link for information on “the purpose” of poetry. (again, poetry has no ONE purpose, which is why I listed many here in this post): https://readyourselfpoetry.com/what-is-the-purpose-of-a-poem/.
- Enhance Critical Thinking
- Find a New Perspective of the World
Helps develop a sharp mind
Enhanced Critical Thinking
Writing poetry had some unexpected benefits for me that I didn’t notice; not until they were pointed out for me by others. I once wrote a poem called “Into the Cup”, which was an interesting piece about seeing how the world is distorted as our character looks into a cup. I shared the poem in my college application and analyzed it, then asked my English professor to be my reference. From the paragraph that he wrote for me, I read “has good critical thinking skills”, which surprised me, since I had no idea what those skills were and how I was applying them, until I did a google search… I have no idea how my brain works.
Critical thinking is the ability to assess your problems and come up with solutions for them, based on the information available to you. Now that I paraphrased that statement, I understand more of what I was doing while writing. When writing, my biggest issue is coming up with information in the first place. Using my imagination to manifest a situation that I can then process and working through that problem is the hardest part of writing. The second hardest part is editing a poem I don’t like…
Poetry Is Rewarding
Now, onto exactly why this process is so taxing on the mind – taxing, yet rewarding, intellectually and emotionally! Writing poetry challenges the imagination and forces you to feel as others do. That, of course, is empathy; the ability to understand and share the emotions of others. The imagination benefits from empathy as it becomes a way for you to draw inspiration from the characters in your story; they become more three-dimensional. As you develop your subjects you’ll gain a better idea of what it takes to write a poem; to grow faster, you should come up with a system where you ask yourself questions and the poem becomes the answer. I do this by taking an image and an experience and asking “How do these two relate to each other?” I always make sure the subject is personal to me or moves me.
I would categorize this benefit under “enlightenment”, though this is a perk that often manifests itself on its own.
Find a New Perspective of the World
Writing poetry, and on your journey to improve your writing, you get to engage in different thought experiments. You might ask yourself questions like “What if this happens?”, or “How would they react if..”. The best of what this could do for you is that it’ll give you a sense of appreciation for what happens in your life, the bad, along with the good, will help you with your writing both by providing you with content. It’s a good feeling to approach the world with this question in mind: “What poem could manifest from this experience?”. It’s a sort of romantic relationship between the senses and the world outside of your mind that enriches both the self and the poetry you write.
What poetry cultivated for me was an already deeply ingrained sense of wonder that never left me in my transition into adulthood. I believe that another asset of this mindset is a sense of curiosity; poets have to be inquisitive if they’re going to create stories or, even if their work is more a declaration or a question that can’t be answered, we need to ask ourselves “What’s next?”.
Along with empathy, we should take a look at ourselves and ask, in these circumstances in our poems, how would WE act and feel? We’re falling into the subject known as “emotional intelligence”: empathy, self awareness, control over your emotions and self expression. Here, we’ll dive deeper into self awareness. In my life, I’ve always had to be vigilant of my thoughts and think of my “self” as separate from the contents of my own mind. I believe this self-observation is what lead to my level of self-awareness. “I am not my thoughts, I am not my emotions. I have control.”; something I always told myself is that I must understand myself to solve my emotional instability. Poetry helped by separating me from my situations and became a way for me to observe myself outside of, well, myself.
My biggest tip is that you must look to improve yourself in these ways to have any success. Good luck and go ahead and ask your questions if you have any!
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