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Reading Between the Lines: The Benefits of Poetry

In the rhythm of poetry, we are able to see the invisible, to hear the inaudible, to feel the unfeelable, to taste the tasteless.” – Wole Soyinka


Poetry, in all of its many forms, is often seen as an esoteric and inaccessible art form, reserved for the literarily and academically inclined. But in reality, poetry has a LOT to offer anyone who is willing to give it a moment of their time.


When it comes to the benefits of reading poetry, the truth is: they’re endless. From improving your language to boosting your mental health, reading poetry more regularly can enrich your life in a number of ways – whether you’re aware of it or not.


If you’re in search of a poetic and profound impact in your life, read on to uncover some of the benefits of reading poetry, and reasons why you might want to consider adding a poem (or two, or three) to your daily reading repertoire.


1. Language that means something.


Poetry is an art form that involves artful mastery of the written (and spoken) word in such a way that it makes an impact. Sometimes, it teaches. Sometimes, it inspires. Sometimes, it even makes us cry. Reading (and writing) poetry helps to improve our vocabulary, our grammar, and our understanding of syntax and sentence structure. It makes us look at words in an entirely new way – as well as how they’re placed upon the page. By engaging more with the often-lyrical language of poetry, we develop a deeper appreciation of language, and how it can be used to its full potential; how it can be used in a way that is memorable.


2. Up your emotional intelligence.


Often, because of the different topics and ideas poets focus on, poetry can contain complex themes and engage with some seriously deep emotions. By reading poetry, we develop a greater sense of empathy and emotional awareness – of what we’re feeling, and what others might feel, too. By exploring the feelings and experiences of human beings through poetry, we better equip ourselves to understand what we’re all going through, and we become more capable of connecting with others on a deep and sincere level.


3. Creativity is as creativity does!


Sometimes the easiest way to become creative is to BE creative! Because of the many different forms poetry can take, it’s easily one of the most creatively inspiring forms of writing you can try. Reading different kinds of poetry can also inspire you to develop new ideas and experiment in other areas of your life. And who knows? When it comes to thinking outside the box, a good poem or two might be just what you need to break free!


4. Poetry is a form of therapy.


Yes, you read that correctly. Poetry can be a form of therapy for people with difficult emotions or experiences that they need to process. Some studies have even shown that regularly reading poetry can help to reduce stress and anxiety, while boosting your mood, and even improving your sleep. When it comes to remedies that keep the stresses of modern life at bay, we’ll happily take a poem a day to keep the doctor away!


5. Greater awareness beyond boundaries and borders.


Poetry is powerful – not in the least because it gives us unique insight into other peoples’ experiences, other cultures, other traditions, and even, other historical periods. Intentionally exposing ourselves to poems from all over the world deepens our understanding of other people and places, both near and far, broadening our perspective and expanding our knowledge, to turn us into true citizens of the world through the written word.


We’ve touched on just five of the many benefits of reading poetry, and we hope it’s inspired you to indulge in the reading of a poem or two each day. Whether you’re a seasoned poetry lover, or just dipping your toes into this rich and rewarding form, there is something to be gained from exploring the world of verse. So, make it your goal to seek out new poets, revisit old favourites, or discover some classics, to see how much poetry has to offer, and how much it can enrich your life. Go on, we dare you!

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