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Monday
Apr162012

So You Think You Can’t Write A Poem

“I haven’t written a poem since high school.” 

“I could never be poetic.” 

“I’ve never even written a journal.”

“I’ve never been good with words.”

This is what I hear from people all the time when I tell them that I work in poetry therapy.

We all have the nightmare vision of sitting in a poetry class, where our precious words are critiqued, slashed with red ink, while our creative spirit is beaten down until it goes into permanent hiding.

Well, I’m here to tell you, it’s safe to come out.  

What’s more, in dealing with your life’s challenges, you desperately need the wisdom and the guidance of your creative spirit - that part of you that may have gone into hiding.  

That’s right. That part of you that hid away to avoid criticism can be your greatest ally. It can help you clear the hurdles in your present life, and even more – help you take flight in the ways you’ve always wanted. 

The process of poetry therapy creates a safe space, and gives you permission to be inspired, and to explore your life on the page without judgment or critique. Your job isn’t to craft a poem. Your job is just to be open, to trust the white page, to trust what comes forward in our discussion and just write a journal entry with no edits. Then together, I’ll show you how to break the lines where you would naturally pause or take a breath. You will know where it begins and ends. Without trying to write a poem, you’ll look down at the page, and there it is. And you’ll realize, all of your moments in life can be expressed this way. Try it out. Your inner voice might surprise you.

Over and over again, I get to witness people coming in, full of disclaimers about their ability to write. And over and over, within the safety of our sessions, I watch as their inner voices are coaxed out of hiding, and invited to speak. I get to see the surprise, the awe, when they realize that their own inner voice has secrets to reveal to them. As David Whyte says “Poetry is the act of overhearing yourself say the things you didn’t know you knew.”

By tapping into that reservoir of inner knowing, not only are beautiful poems written, but perspective is gained, strength is found, truth is revealed. And you discover, it’s true, I do indeed have a story worth telling. 

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