Three Benefits of Reading Poetry

One of my reading goals for this year is to spend more time reading poetry! So far I’ve delved into the likes of Sylvia Plath, Whittier and Lord Tennyson.

It’s been a fascinating experience so far! While you may not be a fan of poetry yourself, here are three reasons why it’s so important as a literary form.

Educational improvement

The effects of reading poetry, particularly reading poetry aloud, has been researched by educators around the world.

Exposure to poetry increases the readers vocabulary and understanding of the meaning of words. Thereby incorporating poetry into educational curriculum is important for broadening peoples understanding of language.

There is also an increasing interest in research into the impact that creative activities, such as poetry or art have on other activities, such as science or math.

It’s beginning to be understood that incorporating creative forms into otherwise considering ‘non-creative’ subjects such as math and science in the classroom (I use non-creative to differentiate between activities such as art that have been traditionally understood as creative) enhances both the enjoyment and retention of students.

If you want to learn more words, and appreciate the complex meanings behind them read more poetry! The meanings of words in poetry can be used in different ways to usual conversations which is interesting to see!

These poetry books originally belonged to my Great Grandfather and have been handed down to me. They’re well worn, but more beautiful for it I think.

Emotional Processing

Poems express emotions in a way that is different to normal conversation. Depending on my mood I would say my experience of some poems changes completely.

Reading a sad poem by Sylvia Plath might not be the best when you’re feeling super happy (though you can still appreciate it to a certain extent) but if you’re already low in mood it might provide the words you need to process what you’re feeling.

I’m a terrible poet. I had a friend in high school who was great at writing limericks. She’d write them in our birthday cards or in our notebook and it would bring a smile to my face or make me laugh without fail.

Writing poetry has been shown to assist people with emotional processing, particularly grief. Palliative care is an example of one health sector that has explored in depth the role that poetry and other art forms have in helping people process the emotions and experiences that come with a life ending illness.

A change of perspective

I find reading poetry helps me to look at the world in a new way. Maybe it’s something about the combination of words or the way they flow differently to prose. It’s like there’s space between the lines for your thoughts to breath.

A current Favourite poem

I’ve read some great poems in the last two months, but here’s one that I found quite sweet. Here’s a few verses from it.

The end has come, as come it must

To all things; in these sweet June days

The teacher and the scholar trust

Their parting feet to seperate ways

They part; but in the years to be

Shall pleasant memories cling to each

As shells bear inland from the sea

The murmur of the rhythmic beach

At School Close – Whittier 1877

I really like the sweetness of the poet thinking back his schoolyard days. Of acknowledging the duty and hard work the teacher puts in. You can view the whole poem here.


If you’re interested in reading more about the topics I’ve talked about today on the blog, click the links below to find out more

Educational improvement, Emotional Processing

I hope you enjoyed today’s post, let me know what you think in the comments below. Do you write or read poetry? Why?

If you have any poetry recommendations I’d love to hear them.

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You can find me on Instagram @stephhuddlestonwriting for more bookish content in your week.

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