Poetry is old. But remains as powerful today, as it was 5000 years ago.
We believe the single most effective way to improve the capabilities of our minds remains what was was discovered by human civilisation beyond the reach of human history: that poetry has extraordinary qualities.
Ancient cultures leaned that memorising poetry benefited the capabilities of the mind so massively, that vast, epic tales could be memorised and passed on to other generations and populations in a reliable and sustainable mechanism.
There is more though than a profound impact on memory and cognitive ability. The act of creating and writing poetry elicits hidden emotions and brings them to the forefront of our consciousness; allowing them to be dealt with, acknowledged and validated; bringing essential benefits to well-being, particularly in a time of crisis such as we are living in just now.
Although practiced for centuries as an integral part of education, the immense benefits of working through poetry are only beginning to be understood now, as modern neuroscience has finally caught up to the poets. More studies are being done, and we hope that the work of WordLab Arts can be involved in future research.
We think modern neuroscience is beginning to show why poetry can have such a powerful effect on the human mind.
We build the structures in our brain by what we do, and how often we do it. The bigger and more complex those structures are, the more sophisticated they become, and the more advanced our abilities become.
There’s a saying: ‘every thought in a child’s mind creates a neuron’. But a thought creates a neuron in the brain of a person of any age: the more thoughts, the more neurons.
Poetry is the product of many, interconnected thoughts. With the power of rhyme and rhythm it creates bigger, more permanent brain structures.
Poetry helps deal with the impact of emotionally intensity events, where adrenalin plays a similar role to rhythm and rhyme in amplifying the brain’s response to create stronger and longer-lasting neurons.
Poetry creates complex brain structures, which become dense with neurons and with the expanding connections between them. When this occurs, huge leaps forward in the ability of that area of the brain take place. And when we say huge, we mean astronomical.
The most modern neuroscience indicates these leaps forward are multi-dimensional in nature. That’s what we mean by astronomical.
Teaching Artists often describe seeing this paradigm shift in the participants they’re working with. This is generated by new connections being formed in a part of the brain which builds development of emotional and intellectual understanding.
Increasing the cognitive ability of any part of the brain boosts its overall ability. (It makes us literally smarter). Poetry makes those connections permanent.
“Poetry connects emotions, logic, memory, language, and wraps them up in meaning, rhythm and rhyme.”
Big structures made by music, intense experiences and poetry become much denser. Poetry engages many parts of the brain at once, creating more densely packed, neuron-rich areas of the brain, building sophisticated structures which enable exponential advances in understanding and ability.
Poetry is one of the best ways to build capable brains. From, learning an instrument to becoming a world-renowned composer, or from multiplication to becoming an accomplished mathematician; these leaps forwards toward mastery are facilitated by the advanced brain structures we construct.
‘Learn a poem by heart as a child, and you will remember it as an adult’. John Stoddart
Poetry, with its intrinsic qualities of rhythm and rhyme, creates big, robust neurons which last a lifetime, mirroring the impact of music. The interactions of our memories, emotions and consciousness which poetry elicits, create sophisticated structures which enable and sustain enhanced abilities.