5 Reasons to Read Poetry
Whenever I hear someone belittling poetry, I feel a sort of sadness and disappointment come over me. Poetry has too much meaning and beauty to be considered unimportant or old fashioned. Indeed, it could argued that it is more necessary now than ever before.
If you do not see the value of poetry, please read these five reasons, for I have written this so that hopefully you shall come to recognize its profound meaning.
1. Poetry Expands Our Vocabularies
As I read poetry, I am often surprised time and time again by the number of words poets use with which I am unfamiliar. For example, in the last few weeks, I have seen words ranging from substratum to filch in the small amount of poetry that I have read. Many poets have elephantine vocabularies, and it does us good to read poetry if for no other purpose than that of learning new words.
2. Poetry Reflects Its Time
Poetry often reflects the time period in which it was written. Poets have traditionally been among the most intelligent and influential people of their times, and they are generally very well acquainted with the religious, philosophical, cultural, artistic, moral, and even daily aspects of their times. Art says a lot about culture, and poetry says more, and with more eloquence, than any other art form, or so I would argue.
3. Poetry Nourishes The Soul
Men cannot survive of purely material things. We cannot live a fulfilling life if we never delve into our emotional or spiritual beings, and poetry does exactly that. We are emotional creatures, and poetry can teach us an immense amount about emotions.
4. Poetry Discusses Profound Questions
Poetry, like philosophy and religion, examines some of the most profound questions in life. From the meaning of life itself or love to the existence of evil or pain, poetry has it covered. There are innumerate poems that look at the same questions that philosophers spend lifetimes contemplating, and they are often more digestible because they teach us through our emotions, and sometimes that is better than utilizing the cold steel tool that is reason.
5. Poetry Grows Us
Finally, poetry grows us. It forces us to think through the vocabulary, the deep questions that it raises, and the feelings which it arouses. Poems connect to us, and they force us to think, to reflect, and to respond. When we do this, we grow.
Poetry is powerful. As Aristotle said, “Poetry expresses the universal.” It is no coincidence that many of the world’s greatest thinkers were either poets or avid readers of poetry. Poetry forces us to grow, from our vocabulary to our very essence, and because of that, it is of unspeakable value.