The healing power of art (poetry).

10 Oct 2016

I listened to the wonderful writer Jeanette Winterson being interviewed on the radio as part of the Writers Festival. She spoke about the healing quality of art, for her it was poetry for others it maybe be music, paintings, sculpture, prose, song lyrics. Jeanette felt that art in the form of poetry saved her as it got her through her depression and self -loathing, back to a place of innocence.

A tough life, Jeanette explained needs a tough language and this is what poetry and literature offers - a language that is powerful enough to say how things really are.

Great poetry (and music, art, song lyrics sculpture) can break through barriers and reveal an emotional truth in such a raw and relatable way that it reaches out to a person in pain.

Jeannette explained how when was very low she would stand at a mirror and read poetry that had meaning for her. She said she could see her face going from tense and twisted to being calm by the end of the poem.

I found that fascinating. I have never tried reading poetry in front of a mirror but I have read a favourite poem over and over in a loud voice. I did find I felt more peaceful after reading it out loud.

She found the poems cut through the noise and hurt so that the wound would open and be cleaned. Eventually the wound would need to be taught to heal itself.

A self-cleaning emotional wound, now wouldn't that be a useful tool. Teaching a wound to heal itself would take time and patience.

It would be different for every person but what a wonderful strategy if we could find a way to work out a way to heal our wounds. Jeanette Winterson found the answer through reading poetry and her writing.

I am a long way from having self-healing emotional wounds but I think it as useful thing to aim for. I find writing helps and will try to read aloud more often and read more poetry.

What do you think of what Jeanette Winterson has explained about the role of art including poetry in the healing process.?

Do you have a special poem, song, painting, book, that has healing qualities for you and what makes it so helpful?

Have you found a way to teach your wounds to be self- healing? What plan worked for you?


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