How Poetry Can Help People Through Difficult Times | Arts & Hobbies


When Russia invaded Ukraine, Ukrainian-American writer Ilya Kaminsky’s poem “We lived happily during the war” went viral on social media.

Poetry can often help people make sense of the world in difficult times. For World Poetry Day, The Conversation US has put together four articles on the power of poetry.

1. Poetry gives people a voice

In 1991, Kentucky poet Frank X. Walker coined the term “Affrilachian” after attending a poetry reading featuring several black Appalachian poets.

Amy M. Alvarez, assistant professor of English education at West Virginia University, and Jameka Hartley, gender and race studies instructor at the University of Alabama, wrote about the story of how black people in Appalachia found their voice in poetry.

“In coining the terms ‘Affrilachia’ and ‘Affrilachian,’ Walker sought to overturn assumptions about who is part of Appalachia,” they write. “Rather than accept Appalachia’s single history as white and poor, Walker wrote a new one, paving the way for black Appalachian artists.”

2. Comfort us in mourning

After the death of several of her loved ones, Emily Dickinson fell into a deep depression. She isolated herself in her home and wrote nearly 2,000 poems, many of which were about grief and death. One of his most famous poems, “It Feels A Shame To Be Alive”, was written in the midst of the Civil War.

Dickinson’s poems resonate well during a pandemic that has left many in despair, wrote Matthew Redmond, a doctoral student in English at Stanford University.

“Dickinson’s imagery shows how deeply she would have understood how we might feel, eclipsed by a mountain of mortality that will continue to grow,” Redmond wrote. “The same anger, exhaustion and sense of futility were his constant companions later in life.”

3. Poetry can help students learn

Amanda Gorman made headlines in 2021 when, at age 22, she became the youngest inaugural poet in US history. Its success provided an opportunity for educators to use spoken word poetry to teach students.

Three educators – Kathleen M. Alley, associate professor of literacy at Mississippi State University; Mukoma Wa Ngugi, associate professor of English literatures at Cornell University; and Wendy R. Williams, assistant professor of English at Arizona State University – have written about how teaching spoken word poetry can benefit students.

Spoken poetry “holds the promise of helping young people connect with ideas as well as providing a way to deepen understanding and develop understanding and empathy, which can then be applied to real-world situations. “Alley wrote.

4. Poetry can help us laugh in dark times

James Bond is known for delivering classic one-liners, especially in the face of danger. In thunder ballBond spears a villain then jokes, “I think he gets it.”

But killer zingers like his can also be found in ancient poems. In Homer’s “The Iliad”, Polydamas throws Prothoenor in the shoulder. As Prothoenor dies, Polydamas jokingly suggests that his spear will be a good tool for Prothoenor to lean on like “a staff when he descends into the underworld”.

Andrew M. McClellan, associate professor of classics and humanities at San Diego State University, explained why ancient poets literally loved to add insult to injury.

“The jokes are for the audience, and that’s as close as the genre gets to breaking the fourth wall,” he wrote. “Viewers are sensitive to these witticisms not just because they’re funny, but because they’re consciously ridiculous. They help draw audiences away from the often gruesome levels of violence on display.

n This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article here:….


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