I lay in bed, three hours into reading Jane Eyre feeling nothing but awe for the spirit of the woman and her story before me. It is a feeling unlike anything I have ever experienced before, this incredible connection between me, an author, and the words on a page before me. It's foreign to so many people now to experience such a phenomenon. We are so used to barricading ourselves into a bubble in which we refuse to feel, to feel for people, for our work, for anything. It's weird, it's uncomfortable, but it's entirely necessary to embrace your humanity through the words you read and the stories you seem to latch onto. Although foreign, in one way or another, we have all been touched by a piece of literature. There is nothing like it.
This is especially true for poetry. Through this art form, we can better express emotions, experiences, and share our interpretations to the world in similarly diverse ways that allow us to connect more to the feeling of a piece than the words in the piece itself. Reading work by Rupi Kaur or Andrea Gibson envokes feelings that we didn't know we had, experiences we didn't know we could relive, and relationships to the experience of the author and the narrator that we could have never known would form.
In schools and more traditionally taught English classes, we need to pay more crucial attention to these ideas. Men and women in the twenty-first century both have norms sexual, social, educational norms that we are intrinsically expected to abide by, and poetry gives them to be the opportunity to express feelings in ways they would have otherwise may have attempted to shield from themselves or latch on to as the norms take hold when going through everyday lives.
It provides freedom to express oneself in a way unlike any other form of writing. it is creative, abstract, and formative for any individual attempting to share idea through words. It really allows people to embrace themselves:
It is as if this was the first time.
The first time we met.
The first time I truly saw you and you truly saw me.
So pure and awkward.
I picked you up and began to drag you across the freshly lined paper
For the first poetry class, I had ever taken.
You talk to me.
You connect to me.
You get me.
You meet my mom, my dad, my brother.
You meet my lover.
As I describe the flowers and weeds in the garden that is my life,
Attempting to bloom,
Fighting for air, for a second to breathe, for a drop of sunlight.
I fight for it all.
And I let you see that.
I pour my emotions into you, making up for your new lack of ink
As every rose, bud, and thorn poured out onto the paper.
I can sit there, acknowledging and owning my experience before.
You give me a voice.
You give me freedom,
Freedom unlike anything I have ever known.
I just want to grow.
You let me grow and blossom
Into the woman and poet, I am meant to be.
Poetry, even one as simple as describing the pen used to write a poem, acts as a catharsis for writers. Each line dripping in feeling like the hands of a young child who enjoys an ice cream cone.
Beyond the academic view of poetry, we must begin to look closer at the impact that this art form has on the more emotional side of people, deeper than they physical minutia of understanding how this form of writing functions on a structural basis. Poetry's ability to provide a form of catharsis for its writers and readers is absolutely unparalleled. We, as a society, need to better embrace this art form, dig deeper into its benefits, and fully give poetry the chance and exposure it deserves to students and people everywhere.