Poetry! It's the COOLEST! Like the sound of a special song or the smell of a favorite dish being cooked, re-encountering certain poems or poetic styles always whisks me right back to particular moments and the particular people with which I shared the love of that poetry. Whether it’s the spoken word shared by friends around a campfire, a favorite book of poems gifted by someone who wanted to light a creative fire in the heart, my mom’s favorite rhymes, or the poems that Anna and I traded when we were building a friendship that would be the foundation for much more, poetry digs up and dusts off nostalgia, recalling the special, unforgettable moments of our relationships with others, with the places we’ve been, and with ourselves.
Outside the realm of relational memory, poetry, like music, has always been there for us to become closer to truth, to express what can’t be expressed through the limits of everyday language, to express what only we, ourselves, can find the words for. We have so many unnameable feelings coursing through our hearts and minds at any given moment, and poetry lets us find language to describe, and therefore process, and therefore understand. Poetry lets us feel less alone in that, and lets us recognize within others a little of ourselves, or at least see ourselves and others with a truth that can’t be expressed outside of emotion. It accesses our collective humanity. Even beyond our individual expression, different poetic styles from different cultures and time periods can help us to gain greater understanding of cultural values and the beauty of describing the world through different structural lenses. Haiku helps us to condense the overwhelming nature of the world around us and within us, allowing us to use a kind of linguistic discipline to distill truths from big concepts. Romantic poetry allows us to indulge in the hugeness of those concepts, painting the world with passionate language. Nursery rhymes and children’s poetry give us the opportunity to explain this wide and wild world through engaging imagery, memorable rhyme, and developmentally appropriate language—in turn helping kiddos to develop language skills as well! Spoken word poetry often lets us speak truth to power without asking us to filter the rawness of that truth.
Poetry informs not only what Anna and I do professionally, but how we live our lives. My own love of rhyme and meter has provided a lot of personal guidance when it comes to working on BenAnna creative projects, but being able to describe our feelings poetically is a way for Anna and I to see each other as clearly, as starkly, and as joyously as possible. It is an inextricable part of who we are, both together and individually, from our past to the present moment.
Also, it doesn’t hurt that poetry, as Robin Williams’ Mr. Keating tells us in “Dead Poets Society,” was really just created to woo each other, and there will never be a time that Anna and I aren’t trying to woo each other.
So here’s to the poetry that makes us and allows us to show who we are, and here’s to introducing this powerful tool to your kiddo’s creative toolkit!
As y’all can tell at this point, we really love poetry and the ways it can help us to grow, so we wanted to create a resource encourage our kiddo friends to create their own poem, just to get the creative juices flowing and the expression ball rolling, so if that interests you feel free to click the image!