How to Enjoy Poetry

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1. Create the Right Environment

William Faulkner — “A novelist is a failed short story writer, and a short story writer is a failed poet.”

Poetry compacts a wide range of emotion and meaning into a selection of relatively few words. This means, it sometimes requires a little more focus than you might be used to when consuming other content. That’s okay!

It is usually best to consume poetry while in an environment that is as distraction free as you’re able to manage. This gives you space to really experience the poetry naturally and unforced.

2.Read the Poem Aloud to Yourself

There is nothing quite as powerful as hearing your own voice recite poetry you connect with. It doesn’t have to be loud, and you don’t have to be entirely certain of the poem’s rhythm (though, the written form of the poetry should provide some level of guidance for you). Just be natural, and this is one of the best ways to submerge yourself into the poem.

3.Put on Some Background Music (Optional)

I find I enjoy poetry best, when I combine it with music that already stirs some type of emotional response in me. Typically, while I’m writing, or reading poetry, I put on a mix of Olafur Arnalds or Dark Piano playlists on Spotify. Stay away from music which has lyrics already, as it can remove your focus from the poem. This is an optional step, but when practiced and mastered can really enhance your experience with poetry.

4.Allow Yourself to Feel…

We write and read poetry to connect with a deeper level of ourselves. Poetry gives us a vessel by which to explore an honesty that is sometimes lost in the chaos of normal living. It can be a really intense experience at times… But guess what. That’s the point!

We’re looking for the selves of ours that are fearless and true. Don’t fight yourself or feel ashamed of feeling. Let the beauty of those emotions flow through you freely. They are a part of you, after-all…

5.Enjoy… And Share!

If you look at Google’s analytical data for the world’s general interest in poetry over the course of time, you’ll find a pretty steady decline. It isn’t necessarily that poetry is dying. In fact, poetry is evolving in many ways, through social media, videography, audiobooks, and more; but if you’re enjoying what you’re reading, share that experience with others, whether its my work or someone else’s.

Poetry has changed my life in a lot of ways… It’s given me a way to process a lot of really intense and heavy emotions surrounding various aspects and moments of my life in a healthy and freeing way. It’s taught me to allow myself to feel, and to put the proper energy into the proper moments of my life. It’s brought me closer to the people in my life and allowed me to love more freely and without the weight of neglected shadows and unkept wounds.

I hope you’re able to find what sets you free in your own life, and I can’t wait to see all of the amazing things you do.

I am with you. We’re in this together. Always.
-John Onyx