Poetry’s the Most Intimate Way to Learn Another Perspective
There may be plenty of ways to truly get to know other people, but poetry is by far the most intimate.
“To fall in love with someone’s thoughts — the most intimate, splendid romance.” ― Sanober Khan
Poetry is an exploration of yourself.
When you’re sitting down and writing a poem, depending on the topic, you’re exploring your mind and your inner self. You’re opening yourself up in a very direct manner. You’re peeling away more layers than you would in other forms of writing.
Even if you’re writing something that’s completely outside of you, poetry is still an exploration of who you are. Even if you aren’t writing about yourself, your choice of words is still a reflection of who you are.
Now, let’s flip the coin. You’re reading someone else’s poetry. You’re getting to know that person and their thoughts in a way that is like no other. Reading another person’s poetry lets you learn more about them, even more so than a chat over coffee could reveal. This is why poetry is the most intimate way to learn another person’s perspective.
Poetry lets you learn about other people’s perspectives.
There are many different ways to broaden your horizons and learn about the struggles of people with very different lives. Colloquially, you might say there are plenty of ways to “get woke.”
Poetry may not be the first thing you think of as a way to learn more about different people and cultures, but it’s an incredible way to do that.
However you want to look at it, poetry is a chance to enjoy creative writing, relax with reading, and learn about the very different lives of people, learn about growing up in different places, and learn about different cultures. It’s a way to learn what life is like elsewhere without cracking open a textbook or simply reading articles on Wikipedia.
While poetry has been called a dying media, there are still thousands of people reading poetry. Since poetry is so rich and intimate, reading poetry books is both creative and educational.
Poetry is more deeply intimate and honest than any conversation.
A deep conversation can be fantastic and you will absolutely learn about the person you’re talking to, but it’s hard to be completely open with a person face to face.
But when it’s a poet and their pen, there’s full openness there.
I recently read SoundMachine by Rachel Zucker and I found myself completely immersed and captivated by this book. Some of the key issues expressed in this book include dealing with getting older, surviving the loss of close friends, and the trials of parenthood. Though I’m not a parent, I resonated deeply with the other topics.
Even the poems focused on the trials of motherhood were so thoughtfully intertwined with the dilemmas of writerhood and the struggle of balancing a career with a home life that I still engaged with them.
This is the beauty of poetry. You can’t just meet someone and get into a conversation that goes so deep. You can eventually get to that point with your closest friends, but it takes time to get to that point of honesty and intimacy.
If you read a poet’s work, you have the chance to learn things about them that they wouldn’t reveal as easily in conversation.
You can learn another person’s story through their poetry.
We can say that we understand others. We can say we have an idea of what it’s like to grow up in a different country, in different circumstances, or in a different culture.
We can aim to be open and to learn, but there are a few ways to get as real of an account of what life is like for someone else than what you read in their poetry. In addition to the honesty, poetry is inherently rooted in the life and mind of the poet. It’s the subtle things in poems that will help you understand more about what another person’s story really is.
Poetry captures all of the things that you don’t list in your author’s bio, on your CV, or when you write about yourself. With poetry, you can get into all the underlying things that are the key realities of your life.
Another book I read recently was the National Book Award Finalist, The Tradition, but Jericho Brown. This book captures so many social issues in an intimately honest fashion. It’s immersive, interesting, and important to read.
Poetry can be a gentler way to discuss difficult or painful issues.
It sounds absurd, but I almost wish that everyone wrote poetry. It’s incredible to be able to get to know the inner thoughts, feelings, and confessions of another person in a way that is as intimate and honest as poetry.
Imagine if all your friends and loved ones wrote poetry. Imagine if you all got to read each other’s poetry.
There would certainly be hurt feelings at times, quite possibly a lot of them. Even so, negative feelings need to be voiced and worked through
There are probably people in your life who you can’t fathom doing this with. Very often, it’s because a relationship has become so damaged that there’s just no way you’d be able to achieve this level of openness with that person. There are too many years upon years of compounded hurt feelings, like the old, rotting trash at the bottom of a garbage dump.
Reality isn’t pretty, but imagine if we could be open enough to address those negative feelings in poetry and work through them with another person being equally honest?
Poetry is, by far, the most intimate way to learn about a person and learn their perspective on the world.