Apr 222014

Poetry therapy has been around for decades. I had a couple of articles published in the Journal of Poetry Therapy back in the 90s, focusing on haiku and haiku sequencing as a genre that could be used to facilitate personal growth.

I have not stopped practicing it, on my own. Many poets use their work as a vehicle of personal growth, I suspect, getting thoughts and feelings out at a deeper level than is possible with straight prose. I have found it useful to translate dream material into poetry, then use the poem as a point of focus for deeper reflection.

Of course, poetry is also a vehicle for communicating with others at a deep level, breaking down barriers or getting closer. I find it is best to include in poetry both clarity and depth. If a poem is overly obtuse, then, in my view, it is not doing its job as a vehicle of self-exploration or communication.

At this point, I always share my work with someone, either online or in person. A natural introvert, it is a way for me to connect with the world, you might say, person by person. W ell, even if just one or two readers “get” my message or are even transformed by it, well, that’s good enough for me.

Though I strive for clarity in poetry, I realize that what distinguishes the genre is an unusual juxtaposition of image and feeling and thought; the poetic message is not straightline; it somehow “curves around,” and includes an element of surprise. I think that at a deeper level of the psyche, things do “curve around” in unusual ways, like dreams, seeming like nonsense sometimes on the surface, but often having a deeper meaning if we reflect on the thoughts, feelings, and images.



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