Why make time for poetry in your life? Even when I don’t get around to reading new poems, poetry still accompanies me through remembering poems I have memorised over the years. Here is a brief list of reasons why poetry is worth your time.
- The language of poetry is not direct, the use of imagery, sound, metre and other techniques make it possible to reach you on a subconscious level, bypassing your everyday rational mind, helping you make connections you hadn’t thought of, feeding the heart and soul with ideas and ways of perceiving life.
- If someone has felt strongly enough about something to write a poem on it it’s likely to be at least interesting. It’s an indirect way of connecting to others and accessing through them the many facets and layers of what it means to be human in this world.
- It’s a great opportunity to appreciate someone else’s skill. Earlier this year I completed a few coursebooks on writing poetry, and learned through doing (trying to rather) some of the more technical aspects that go into writing great poetry, so now , even more than before, when I read a poem I enjoy the pleasure of marvelling at someone’s ability to do magic with words.
- You can really own your favourite poems by memorising them. When you have to memorise a poem you really become more aware of each choice the poet made, and you can really own it, its content, structure, meaning and beyond. It’s with you whenever you want, you can recall it in any moment. I have found some, like songs, coming to me as I live my life, adding depth to moments. (this is the latest I have memorised, and this is the one before that).
- Reading a good poem is an opportunity to pause. It’s a chance to open up, to be quiet and listen deeply. It requires that kind of attention, that kind of availability and the ‘effort’ of shifting gear and being prepared to listen deeply is usually rewarded and leaves you longing for more, leaves you wanting to come back to that space, which is both internal and external.
- It’s not very time-consuming, you can go to poetry readings if you like but you can also read contemporary poetry on your phone, for example at https://www.poetryfoundation.org/ anytime. Poetry is an art form that you can enjoy anytime, anywhere.
So, why poetry? Well, it’s easy to be cynical, it’s a bit like asking, why love?
I say, why not?