The Psychology of Poetry: Understanding the Perspective of a Poem

A lot of people in the whole world appreciate the artistic form of communication called poetry. As far as the psychology of poetry is concerned, we could say that it has two different perspectives. The first psychological perspective on poetry belongs to the writer, and the second one belongs to the reader. Writer’s perspective is related to the reasons why he/she likes to write poetry, whereas the reader’s perspective refers to why people like to read poetry, why they enjoy this artistic means of expression.
There can be various reasons why someone may like to write poetry and why people like poetry so much (or certain people, at least). Understanding these psychological issues may help one become a better poetry writer, but however, further research in this field is required in order to obtain the best results.
Self-expression is one of the main reasons why someone chooses to write poetry. Poetry is a great means of communication, allowing us to express our own thoughts, attitudes, interests, values and feelings. Indeed, poetry may be a reflection of our various interests. Another basic reason for writing poetry may be creative expression. Thus, poetry may be nothing more than a means of expressing one’s own creativity. And by expressing creativity, we can bring meaning into our own lives.

Writing and reading poetry may also help somebody feel motivated and inspired. We can write poetry with a certain message that can help us feel motivated. Another reason for writing poetry may be the wish to motivate or inspire others. Thus, it may be quite encouraging to know that by our poetry we can help others; we can bring hope or inspiration into other people’s lives. Close friends encourage each other, and encouraging, inspirational poetry may be considered as some sort of letters sent by close friends.
Poetry may also be a means of expressing ourselves emotionally. We can express either positive or negative emotions. Obviously, the most frequent emotion-based poems are that expressing sadness or happiness. Writing poetry may also be a means of expressing one’s feelings towards other people. For instance, people who are in love may write poems to express their feelings towards the object of their desire, i.e. the beloved person. The most efficient love poems are the ones which express one’s feelings and emotions with clarity and openness.
On the other hand, as it has been previously mentioned, there are several reasons why we generally enjoy reading poetry. The first reason may be to understand another person’s feelings. Thus, we could indeed say that empathy is quite similar to the appreciation of poetry. By poetry, we can understand or imagine how another person feels, and by this we can feel close to another human being. It is essential to develop empathic skills in our personal relationships, and poetry may help us do that.

Those who are interested in the more professional side of poetry are likely to appreciate it from an artistic point of view. Some people find poetry enjoyable because they are able to appreciate the writer’s artistic expression. Finding inspiration and motivation, uplifting our spirits are some other good reasons for opening a poetry book. Certain poems can impregnate us with a sense of meaning and hope, or can help us gain insights on different issues.
By turning us into creators, poetry connects us to our internal resources and changes our point of view. And even if poetry is not always a veil that could help us camouflage all the bad and ugly things in this world, it can still help us transcend them and can make us more conscious. In February 2009 when the recession seemed to paralyze Guadeloupe and Martinique, several scholars among whom we could mention Patrick Chamoiseau and Édouard Glissant, said that there wasn’t any economical crisis, but rather a poetic crisis (“une crise poétique”). They wrote a political manifesto under the form of a poem.
Writing, reading or reciting poetry (out loud) could indeed be some forms of self-therapy. It can be a form of escapism, or a catharsis, a means by which we purge our inner lives from the ugly aspects of the world we live in.

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