The AVBOB Poetry Competition | The Healing Power of Poetry | AVBOB Poetry

The Healing Power of Poetry

Few of us will grow up to be full-time writers, let alone poets. In fact, most of us simply remember poetry as something we begrudgingly did while at school, never really paying all that much attention. There is nothing wrong with that – not everyone is fortunate enough to have a mentor that introduces them to the true beauty and power of this medium in a relatable way.

That said, there certainly is merit in revisiting this form of creative outlet. Poems are so much more than a collection of rhyming couplets. Poetry is an art form with a very long and rich history. It has helped humanity process and cope with many thoughts and emotions, and its power to heal and bring a sense of peace is often overlooked by contemporary culture.

If this sounds a bit overstated and reminds you of what you perceived as the pretentiousness of certain poems when you were in school, take a quick moment to consider what poetry means and what it can do for the individual. The advantage of doing this now is that there is no one to tell you what to do or what to think – you can engage with it on your own terms.

That which distinguishes poetry from other forms of writing is exactly what makes it such a powerful medium. Many people still think of poems as four-line verses, with the last word of every line rhyming. Sure, that can qualify as a poem, but that is not what makes it a poem. Unlike other forms of text, poetry is specifically written with poetic styling. These tactics are what gives it its evocative quality.

Some features and stylings that make poetry so emotive:

  • Concentrated use of language: Unlike many storytelling and reporting-type narratives, poems use words very economically. Rather than drifting off into endless soliloquies or verbose prose, poems use fewer words and also apply other tactics to make this imposed brevity work so much more memorable.

  • Feeling the rhythm: As mentioned, poetry is not all about rhyming. In fact, it does not need to rhyme at all. In free verse the poet employs a natural speech rhythm rather than strict metre. Emphasising specific words and using the understatement of certain words allows the poet to create a mood, a speed, a feeling.

  • Sound symbolism: Some sounds are harder and sharper, while others are more soothing. Arranging these well, in conjunction with rhythm, provides a rich palette for the artist who paints with words.

By transcending the two-dimensional medium of words alone by using the emotions behind these words and their sounds, poetry has the power to create a deep and meaningful narrative using seemingly very little. It forces the writer to face and address their thoughts, and it transports the reader into a world of emotions in the space of a few short lines.

You can use the power of language to heal yourself, as well as others around you that are hurting. Knowing we are not alone in this world already goes a long way in bringing us peace and calm, and it helps us start the healing process from within. Find out more about the AVBOB Poetry Project elsewhere on our website and share your work with the world.