Poetry is a mixture of thoughts and words that express feelings and emotions. Poetry is considered to be one of the most beautiful forms of artistic expression. It is carefully crafted to evoke a certain response in its readers. Poetry can be uplifting and inspiring, revealing the beauty of life and your surroundings, but poetry can also be dark, taking you to hidden places that not many people like to discuss. Poetry can be differentiated most of the time from prose, which is language meant to reveal meaning in a more widespread and less condensed way, more often using more complete logical or narrative structures than poetry does. This does not necessarily mean that poetry is illogical, but rather that poetry is often created from the need to escape the logical. Poetry can be many things, and to each person it is different. The way you respond to poetry greatly depends on how your brain interprets it. These are the effects of poetry on the brain.
Poetry triggers parts of the brain associated with memory
There’s a specific part of the brain, called the “reading network” that lights up whenever you interact with written material. The University of Exeter’s 2013 study on reading investigated not only how the human brain processes poetry, but how it processes poetry differently. In the Exeter study, 13 volunteers read an excerpt from a heating installation manual, suggestive passages from different novels, easy and difficult sonnets, as well as their favorite poetry. Areas of the brain associated with memory showed greater activity than the general reading network while reading the poetry. It was determined that the exercise of seeing your favorite poems again is undoubtedly more a process of active recollection than of true re-reading.
The brain is hardwired for poetry
Whether it’s Robert Frost’s “Fire and Ice” or Maya Angelou’s “Still I Rise,” there is definitely something about reading or hearing an amazing poem that stimulates your mind, moving you to contemplate life from a different perspective.
Throughout the years, researchers have used functional MRI and many other advanced tools to dissect how the human brain reacts to poetry. They’ve found that the brain seems to be wired to recognize the different rhymes and rhythms that poets use, and distinguish them from normal writing or speech. Researchers also discovered that pondering poetic images along with the multifaceted meanings in poems stimulates different parts of the brain; parts that help us to decipher our everyday reality.
Research suggests that reading or listening to poetry is useful for numerous things besides simply rousing our emotions and elevating our souls. The same mental skills that are exercised when struggling to understand the ending of a movie on Netflix or when figuring out the odds at Pokerstarscasino, also help us navigate unpredictable occurrences and make better choices in our everyday lives. These skills are flexible thinking and the ability to contemplate multiple meanings. If more people read poetry and got accustomed to contemplating meaning, it would make a difference in their ability to think with more alertness to what’s going on.
Poetry is like music to the mind
While most people don’t know, but poetry stimulates the brain in the same way that music does. It links to the right half of the brain, which monitors emotion. It’s also prone to sending you into a self-reflective, memory-enabling state, particularly when reading poems that you love and are familiar with. Poetry also lights up the areas of the brain that concern memory and switch on when you’re relaxing. It is called the “poetry trance.”
A study from McGill University reports that listening to bits and pieces of happy or peaceful music, such as “Material Girl” by Madonna, prompted study participants to recollect detailed positive memories. Contrarily, listening to sad or emotionally scary music, such as “Hurt So Bad” by Linda Ronstadt, caused study participants to recollect negative autobiographical memories. The same is true with poetry. Poetry is like music to the mind, and takes you wherever it wants to while reading. When reading regular text, it is received and processed by the left part of the brain. However, poetry sings, and with that being said, it is received and processed by the right hemisphere of the brain. Great poetry leaves you speechless, just as good music does. It doesn’t matter if you’re using haikai, sonnets, or loose sentences, it sings words that go straight to feelings, completely skipping rational thoughts.
Poetry is an extremely unique literary expression that transmits sentiments, considerations, and ideas by highlighting sound and word usage. There is unbelievably special about poetry that enables it to affect the brain the way it does, from bringing back old feelings to having the ability to impose on your mood.