April is National Poetry Month, a month that celebrates the poets and poems that tug at our hearts. Poetry, as an art form, has the ability to offer the reader a balm for those scars that don’t always fully heal. Writing and reading poetry slows us down, freezes time, and allows us to sit with the words and images on the page. More than an arrangement of words, poetry is rhythmic, soothing, and heartbreaking, sometimes, all at once.
Placing our ideas, dreams, fears, and pain onto the page is beneficial to the writer and reader. Allowing our voice to be heard, by ourselves or a larger audience, is powerful. Writing to heal is a form that can be taken on by anyone and no prior training is necessary. Did you know there are organizations that offer creative writing classes with the sole purpose of helping students heal? The Institute for Poetic Medicine and National Association for Poetry Therapy offer trainings to writers, therapists, and community members that, in the end, allow the trainees to bring the healing power of poetry to all.
Living during a pandemic, has not only shown us what is truly important in our lives, but it has taken us back to the little things that bring us hope and healing. When I am stressed or worried, I often turn to the poems of Naomi Shihab Nye, Billy Collins, and Lucille Clifton. Their words and messages wrap around me like a comfortable sweatshirt. This April, search out those poets and poems that speak to your own life experiences. When you are ready, write down your own words, and watch the benefits slowly unfold.