The Psychology of Poetry

By Brad Bell

Poetry is an artistic form of communication that may be appreciated by a significant number of people.   It may be easier to address questions concerning the psychology of poetry than the question concerning what is poetry.

The psychology of poetry has two perspectives:  the writer perspective and the reader perspective.  The writer perspective concerns why we like to write poetry.  The reader perspective concerns why we may enjoy reading poetry. In this article, I will provide some ideas concerning why we may like to write poetry, and why we may enjoy reading poems.  These ideas may have implications for how to write a poem.  More research may be needed to address the validity of these ideas.

Why Do We Like to Write Poems?

1.  Self-expression

One of the basic reasons we may enjoy writing poems is that it may allow us to express our thoughts, feelings, interests, attitudes, and values in a brief form of communication. For example, writing poems about nature may reflect our interest in nature.

2.  Creative Expression

Poetry may be a simple and easy way to express creativity.  Expressing creativity may be a way that helps to foster meaning in our lives.

3.  Inspiration and Motivation

Poetry may be a way to feel inspired and motivated.  We can write positive poems with a message.   It may make us feel more motivated.  Also, we may enjoy writing poetry because we wish to inspire or motivate others.  It may be very rewarding to know that our poetry can make a difference in the lives of others.  For example, we may write a poem to provide words of encouragement for a friend, or a poem about hope.  Because providing words of encouragement may be a defining attribute of close friendship, some inspirational poems can be viewed as friendship poems for best friends.

4.  Emotional Expression

Writing poems may be one way to express our emotions.  We can express both positive and negative emotions.   For example, we may write a poem to express happiness or sadness.  Also, writing poems may allow one to express how one feels about others.  For example, you could write short love poems for the one you love.   Short love poems for him or her should be specific and clearly state feelings.

Why Do We Enjoy Reading Poems?

1.  Understanding a Person’s Feelings

Poetry appreciation may be linked to empathy.  Poetry may help us to imagine and understand how another person feels.   It may be important for us to understand how someone close to us feels.

2.  Artistic Appreciation

Reading poetry may be enjoyable because we appreciate the artistic expression of the writer.

3.  Inspiration and Motivation

Reading poetry may inspire and motivate us.  It may be uplifting.  Poetry may provide us with a sense of hope and meaning.   We may gain insight into how to cope with adversity.