• Kayla-Jane Barrie

Poetry Heals, Because It Reminds Us That We Are Living.


Back in college, I went to watch my first poetry slam. The rawness, the power, the energy, the emotion - the space was something I had been craving my whole life. It felt like a dream it was so powerful - but it was reality. The silence around the room as each speaker stood in the spotlight - speaking with the electricity of their trauma and wisdom.


Confidence, to feel what they felt and say what needed to be said. Each syllable burning through my veins, heart racing, forgetting to breathe, celebratory claps; the stage in the felt like a museum of words and I was a silent watcher.


I felt so alive.


When I began to re-connect with my writing back in 2020, I began to see these scribbles in my notebook meant something - I didn't want to hide it anymore. It was helping me grasp my thoughts and make meaning of the world. I remember thinking, the world needs more poetry and I want to be a leader.


I also felt a bit naive in this - who is going to take someone like me seriously without a degree? Can I really call myself a healer and a poet in the same sentence?


Poetry is an ancient form of storytelling, and I believe it's time for it to have a rebirth. In our modern era, it may be one of the most intimidating art forms. This intimidation makes proves just how important it is for us to have poetry in our lives. Many of us hide from our own stories - but what if we can make those memories and narratives concise and vibrant? What if the large-scale pain of humanity in the 21st century can be healed, even just understood, by poetry?


Poetry is the beautification of the human experience.


The power that a few lines can hold, the ability to gripe us in, we forget to breathe. It's almost as the world becomes more confusing, I don't want to escape from it. Poetry allows us to be present in the turmoil. It allows us to tell stories direct or indirectly. That is the potency of poetry - it's magic to touch our hearts with grace or sadness.


Connection.


The human experience is a journey, and so is poetry. I am beginning to believe everyone is a poet in their own unique voice.


Perhaps being a poet is :

  • A trust they have between the weaving of pen to paper

  • Finding awe in the beauty and destruction of our planet and society

  • Silently conversing with your inner voice without judgment

  • Using your speaking voice with authority - letting the words flow off your tongue

  • Not rhyming every stanza

  • Being authentic and honest

  • Living, breathing, seeing, holding, speaking

I could go on about the research behind why poetry heals (I will share some resources in another entry) but this post was to share my personal experience with the healing power of poetry. If it wasn't for poetry, I don't know if I would be using my voice like I am today. I don't know if self-expression would be valued in my life - it might still be my enemy.


When I began to share my work aloud and meet other storytellers, I finally felt safe in my body. My soul felt alive with the inner fire I was hiding for so long. Poetry reminded me to trust myself - emotions, thoughts, intuition. That I can take up space in this vast empty but chaotic world.


As I lead aspiring poets and writers I am constantly in awe of the power of this art. I know the fear that lives with sharing written work. I know the pain of keeping silent when I know I have something to say. I know the uncomfortable itching under my skin of wondering what people will think.


Perhaps poetry can help us feel safe in our voices. Reading and writing poetry may be the first step in the direction of the community, conversation, authenticity.


Poetry heals, because it reminds us we are living.