This week on 21st of March we will be celebrating International Poetry Day. Poetry is one of mankind’s oldest art forms and defines much of what we consider culture. The arts make up a culture’s identity as much as its historical events and political policies. Since first analyzed by Aristotle, poetry has been part of every major art movement, and some say it captures emotion better than any other form. Reading poetry is necessary to gain a full understanding of the world and has many additional benefits.
Improves Verbal Skills and Memory
Poetry improves critical thinking by forcing a reader to think. In great poetry, meaning is not obvious or one-dimensional. Deciphering poetry is an active practice, rather than the passive engagement encouraged with prose. Readers of poetry are more likely than non-readers to analyze information for bias and viewpoint. This skill benefits students, but also anyone who wants to form their own opinions of news items or gain a better perspective upon documents like contracts. As the currency of social interaction, language shapes an individual’s experience of the world. The critical thinking skills developed through reading poetry give greater control over language itself. Whether we’re searching for the perfect word, working out how to articulate a thought, or fine-tuning the rhythm and meter of a poem, the steps involved in crafting poetry strengthen our cognitive processes.
Develops Empathy and Insight
The most remarkable power of literature is its ability to unite reader and writer across time and cultural boundaries. As condensed literature, poetry offers these benefits in an impactful way. Poetry triggers memories and emotions in its readers. This connection between universal emotions and personal experience encourages the development of empathy. A reader might have no practical conception of what life was like during the Elizabethan-era in England. However, Shakespeare’s “Sonnets,” with their universal themes of love and longing, can bridge the gap of centuries and inject a whiff of the 17th century into the modern day.
Encourages Engagement with Other Art Forms
Poetry is an excellent introduction to the arts. Poems typically don’t require a lot of time to read, nor are they difficult to find free online. Once someone feels comfortable with poetry, they are more likely to engage with other arts. The appreciation of any art requires the same critical thinking skills and emotional awareness. Poetry has often been entwined with general artistic movements. Poetry offers great treasures for personal growth.
Poetry Makes You Think
If you find poetry hard, be heartened; reading it stretches your mind and forces you to think. When something challenges, surprises, even offends you in a poem – that’s helping you to question pre-conceptions that you might have, and to move beyond your comfort zone. Even if you come across poems you dislike, you can at least figure out what it is you hate about them.
Poetry Is Fun
One ultimate reason to read poetry, though, is simply to enjoy it. Whether you’re drawn into the story, engaged by a fascinating character in a poem, delighted by a beautiful turn of phrase, or laughing out loud at a joke – there’s a lot of fun to be had from reading poetry.
The act of creation — of making something out of nothing — is a cathartic experience too, so find yourself some good poems to read and get yourself a ride of all these benefits from it.
Through the expression of our thoughts and ideas, poetry pushes us to challenge ourselves intellectually.