Why Poetry Is Important In Your Life
January 19, 2017
The start of the 2017 Poetry Out Loud competition has officially begun at Academy of the Holy Names. All students at the Academy are required to recite a poem from the Poetry Out Loud website in front of their class and the best one in the school gets to move on to the statewide competition. However, students have grown a frustration with poetry, trying to understand the purpose of the anxiety filled poetry recitations and their difficulty with the complex language of the poems.
But poetry is much more than a participation grade in English class. It is emotional and thought-provoking grouping of words that an author uses to communicate a thought or idea he or she has. Here are some reasons why you need poetry in your life.
Poetry is a form of self-expression
It helps you see that beneath the surface of everything there is a deeper meaning and significance. Living in a world that seems increasingly meaningless, poetry helps you dig deep, to read between the lines. Good poetry draws from shared impulses and paints a scene to which the readers can better relate.
English teacher, Melissa LeBlanc says, “Poetry allows us us to become more empathetic, which can help us in every day interactions with people. If you can understand the subtext of a poem, you can understand the subtext of a person’s tone and even their body language. It gives people the improved ability to understand others.”
Poetry connects you to other cultural experiences around the world
Poetry can be written in many different ways to preserve certain cultural times both in ancient and modern times. A few ways that it preserves these is when poetry is written in regional dialect. This helps preserve local language and way of life in a globalized world. It helps those of different ages and cultural backgrounds to take a glimpse inside someone’s everyday life from a time or area that the reader could not relate to.
Senior, Marie Dela Cruz shares her experience on her recitation, “The poem I recited was “El Olvido” by Judith Ortiz Cofer. I did some research on it, because it was a poem written to those of Spanish descent and I thought it was really cool. It discussed how young Spanish-Americans should not forget who they are and where they come from. In other words, should not let their modern Americanized culture in their environment take away from their Spanish roots-the very roots and culture that make them who they are.”
Poetry builds a stronger community
Poetry is not only a way to get your thoughts out to those who are interested but also to get people’s attention on certain issues that are occurring in the present. An example of how poetry brings people together would be the growing love for Slam Poetry. Slam Poetry is a type of poetry expressing a person’s personal story and/or struggle in an intensely emotional style. It is a very raw form of poetry that many can relate to in the present, focusing on current situations happening in our world today. It brings people together who empathize with the speaker, in this case, the poems author, or share similar experiences or ideas.
Academy senior, Kaia Floyd, performs slam poetry at a local coffee shop in Ybor called, Blind Tiger.
Poetry expands your linguistic capabilities
Being able to orally recite a poem is more than just a talent. It is another way you can get your point across. The way you annunciate each syllable, stress certain words, and the speed of the way someone presents their poem gives the audience a glimpse of your own persona. It shows them what your values are, your stances on a certain topic are, and how you relate to these certain ideals. It helps people speak in front of large crowds, which is very difficult for most people to do. So, poetry helps people annunciate and verbalize their beliefs and ideals by expanding your linguistic capabilities to get your point across.
Senior, Anne Marie Yatsula, shares an observation from a class when students recited their poems. “This year in our AP Literature class, Mrs. LeBlanc allowed us to do a heads up, heads down procedure so that people could still speak in front of our class without the stress of people looking at them. I noticed girls did tremendously better than years’ past with fewer people pausing and having to restart their recitation.”
Poetry helps you understand how language and symbol systems work
Analyzing lines of poems and trying to figure out the deep meanings behind every word can be difficult for most people. It gets people to start thinking about certain concepts learned in class, repetition, allegory, and many other literary elements and techniques to truly understand the work.
Leblanc says, “Poetry has so much hidden meaning and I think that’s why students have such a hard time understanding it. The more that they work on it, the more they can read between the lines.”