Discovering Poetry

Poetry Nights Aesthetic

By: Cordelia Bloom

Before jumping into the article, please enjoy an original poem written by Bijal Shah, a bibliotherapist and author, titled Mother’s Tribute

Dear mother

So much in my heart I want to express.

At one I wanted to sleep next to you all night.

At two I wanted to hold your hand and never let it go.

At five, I wanted to share my daily stories from nursery.

At ten, I wanted to hang out with my girlfriends.

At twelve, I wanted to do my own thing.

At sixteen, I kept secrets.

At twenty, I had found my own. Life was busy managing social affairs.

At twenty five, I was consumed with career ambitions, men and big life plans.

At thirty, I was getting married and wanted you to celebrate in my joy.

At thirty five, the grandkids had arrived. I felt what you felt when I was born.

At forty, I missed you. Wished to see you more.

At fifty my heart ached, for the pain you were suffering. I really missed you.

At sixty, I was nostalgic, revering in my childhood memories of you and daddy.

Dear mother, your presence makes life worthwhile.

It blooms hope in every dark corner.

It allows us to truly experience and give unconditional love.

You make my soul feel warm.

May our souls be entwined forever, knotted together.

A Literary Romance

Poetry is a work of art, in my humble opinion. It’s a genre composed of literary works where words are used powerfully and in certain moments, they’re intertwined with distinct styles and rhythms. Poems are qualities of beauty and intensities of emotion. 

Poetry evokes a concentrated imaginative awareness of experience, or a specific emotional response to language; arranged for its meaning, sound, and rhythm. Poetry is a vast subject, as old as history and older, present wherever religion is present, possibly—under some definitions—the primal and primary form of languages themselves (Encyclopedia Britannica, 2023). 

We won’t be discussing what a meter is, or what stanzas or rhythmic schemes are, or any other technical aspect of a poem. This article will be focused on the romantic, passionate side of what poems tend to entail and additionally, the typical whom that hides behind them. 

Like other forms of literature, poetry is used to create imagery, to share ideas, express emotions, process through difficult times, among other reasons. This genre tends to grab a hold of a particular mind, of certain kinds of people.

Poetic Charms

Poets carefully choose words for their meanings and acoustics; they select the perfect combination of words to work through the tone or message of what’s being conveyed through the poem.

Lifestyle blogger and traveler, Salma Alaa, wrote an irresistible, quirky article about what the usual characteristic traits of a poet are (2020):

  • creative minds—come up with unconventional ways to start conversations 
  • carry themselves differently—have a way with words
  • charming intellectuals—who love to reference literary works in the middle of mundane talks.

Poets tend to be highly imaginative and descriptive. They love to use vivid language (words) for the mere reason of loving their sound and meaning—which is usually enhanced by recalling memories of related experiences. Poets are also known to love nature; passionate about details. Also, poets tend to be hypersensitive to others and surroundings (almost seems as if they could read the air). 

What else do poetic people have in common? They’re thought-provoking; unafraid to ask questions.

With research, here are some of the greatest poets of all time (in no particular order), along with their most famous poems and distinct quotes:

  • Edgar Allan Poe—The Raven (“I have great faith in fools — self-confidence my friends call it.”)
  • William Shakespeare—Sonnet XVIII (“Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?”)
  • Pablo Neruda—I Do Not Love You Except Because I Love You (“To feel the love of people whom we love is a fire that feeds our life.”)
  • Robert Frost—The Road Not Taken (“The woods are lovely, dark and deep. But I have promises to keep, and miles to go before I sleep.”)
  • Emily Dickinson—Hope Is the Thing With Feathers (“Hope is the thing with feathers that perches in the soul — and sings the tunes without the words — and never stops at all.”)
  • Dante Alighieri—Divine Comedy (“Consider your origin; you were not born to live like brutes, but to follow virtue and knowledge.”)
  • John Milton—Paradise Lost (“A good book is the precious lifeblood of a master spirit.”)
  • Maya Angelou—On the Pulse of Morning (“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”)

And we’re not going to finish the list without mentioning at least some exemplary contemporary authors, such as:

  • Ada Limón—Bright Dead Things
  • Rupi Kaur—Milk and Honey
  • Ocean Vuong—Someday I’ll Love Ocean Vuong
  • Maggie Nelson—Bluets

There’s a whole generation of writers out there creating beautiful work right now. Writing poetry requires extreme discipline, particularly with the choice and number of words; with the precise combination of brevity and detail, the reader can somewhat access the poet’s mind and, therefore, is able to connect and relate to the message.

Reading and writing poetry both engage our senses along with our emotions, making the art form experiential and hugely effective in connecting with our minds (Shah, 2018). 

Wouldn’t you agree?

Poetry Is Power

Did you ever think it’d be therapeutic to write poetry?

In order to fully immerse ourselves in a vulnerable and honest state, we must be present (and judgment-free) with our thoughts and feelings. By writing and reading poetry, those plain-spoken words create an impact and cause therapeutic effects on the mind.

Bijal Shah—bibliotherapist, book curator, freelance journalist, author, and poet—explains that writing poetry requires us to be honest about our feelings by voicing them through pen and paper; which is the first step to truly expressing ourselves (2018). 

The best poetry is written when we’re in the midst of our emotions and truly struggling to gain clarity. By releasing these moments into paper, we’re provided with lucidity and therefore we’re enabled to move forward.

We could all learn to practice self-care through poetry. Like journaling, poetry can provide constant inspiration, especially if we hold ourselves accountable and write through any tough experience or healing journey (Muzzillo, 2023).

Have you ever thought about practicing confessional writing as part of a self-care journey or mental health

Applying it in the form of a poem can truly open doors to the mind of the writer. If we were to write confessional poetry, not only would we have the opportunity to dig into our minds, but we’d be able to shift or focus our train of thoughts in a strong, creative, and raw way. Clarity, of course, is found after a sincere confession. This can be quite the mindful exercise!

The best poems are written  from the heart; they also tend to be written on a mighty emotional base, and to the point. After the poem is written, there is a certain sense of calm, as we no longer hold the burden of our confession. We feel lighter and relieved (Shah, 2028). 

We should all strive for that, shouldn’t we—to feel lighter? Use this opportunity to journal with The Love Story. Are you a poet? Have you been able to pinpoint any specific emotions or moments that might inspire a confession? Or would you like to share about your intake of poetry? The Love Story is a safe space that welcomes everyone to write freely while participating in workshops, where journal prompts are often used to inspire. Journal with The Love Story by clicking the link below.

Begin Journaling Here

References

Alaa, S. (2020, September 8). 7 Irresistible traits of poetic charmers. Medium. https://medium.com/hello-love/7-irresistible-traits-of-poetic-charmers-40d2cfee170d

Elinzano, M. (2015, March 20). The 34 greatest poets of all time. Deseret News. https://www.deseret.com/2015/3/20/20479016/poets-famous-quotes-birthplace-writers-edgar-allen-poe-maya-angelou-emily-dickinson

Muzzillo, S. (2023 May 8). How to write poetry about mental health. Read Poetry. https://www.readpoetry.com/how-to-write-poetry-about-mental-health/#:~:text=Write%20from%20an%20honest%2C%20self,journal%2C%20consider%20revisiting%20old%20entries

Nemerov, H. (2023, September 19). poetry. Encyclopedia Britannica. https://www.britannica.com/art/poetry

Shah, B. (n.d.). A big hello and welcome! Book Therapy. https://www.booktherapy.io/en-us/pages/about-bijal

Shah, B. (2018, April 7). Why poetry is one of the most powerful forms of therapy. Book Therapy. https://www.booktherapy.io/en-us/blogs/news/why-poetry-is-one-of-the-most-powerful-forms-of-therapy?_pos=6&_sid=26cfa3d9f&_ss=r

Ungar, M. A. (2019, April 23) Top five contemporary poets right now. The Harvard Crimson. https://www.thecrimson.com/article/2019/4/23/best-contemporary-poets/

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