Monday, April 7, 2014

Poetry Perks

As we launch into week 2 of National Poetry Month, you may be asking what poetry can do for you…

Besides save you from a miserable death, of course.

Well, poetry just so happens to be a terrific cure for writer’s block (I know, I know, a fate far worse than a miserable death for some).

The fabulous J.R.R. Tolkien often used poetry as a block breaker. Whenever he was stuck in the process of creating a story, he’d simply start writing out his thoughts in verse.

Tolkien wrote, “The first version of the song of Strider concerning Luthien originally appeared in the Leeds University magazine, but the whole tale, as sketched by Aragorn, was written in a poem of great length” (from The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien edited by Humphrey Carpenter).

Given this technique, it’s not surprising that Tolkien’s prose often reads with such a delicious cadence.

Research also shows that reading and writing poetry can make you more creative.

Poet, writer, and serious business dude Dana Gioia couldn’t agree more. He reports that when he worked in the business world… “I felt I had an enormous advantage over my colleagues because I had a background in imagination, language, and literature.”

And how did this advantage pan out?

Gioia happens to be credited with reversing a long-running decline in gelatin dessert sales when he and his team created the super-sensational…

Jell-O Jiggler.

Clearly, additional proof of the power of poetry is unnecessary…

But I’ll give you another bit anyway.

On the clinical side of things, poetry has actually been found to be a terrific weapon for fighting depression

A study in Great Britain found that 7% of depressed and stressed out patients were able to wean themselves off of medication through the simple daily practice of penning poetry.

So, if you want to beat the block, become a mover and shaker (literally) in the business world, or get a great big bunch of happy, now is the time to…

Rhyme on!

PROMPT: Use the Tolkien technique of putting your project in verse first. Try it with your current manuscript or as a way to jump-start your next one. Then shake things up a bit — I’m thinking an ode to the Jell-O Jiggler will do the trick.

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