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The Power of Connection

Before stepping into the world of poetry. I asked myself, why? Why poetry? At the time I saw little poetry being expressed anywhere. I often wondered why. Poetry had been such a vital part of my life and education. Poetry had literally changed my world. As a dyslexic pupil it had allowed me to make a connection from my inner world to the outer world. It had allowed me the vehicle to express the unspeakable loss of my mother to my father (the only poems he ever heard me recite). It had constantly given me the gift of connection to loved ones and strangers, some long dead who I would never meet. Yet twenty years ago, people talked about poetry as if it was dying art form, while I was convinced it was one of the most vital; and its dwindling fortune felt like a threat to the fabric of society.  And so, I stepped into this void, bypassing academia and stepping on to the soap box of my belief. In the last 20 years I have performed, taught and facilitated poetry. But my focus was never on trying to create more poets or poetry but to convince people that like music, poetry is essential to our wellbeing and our daily lives. We are all poets to some degree. It is universal, literally hardwired into our brains and its connection runs from the dawn of mankind up to present time, giving us both theatre and hip-hop. But poetry also insinuates itself into the fabric of our brains, giving us stronger neural connections and capacity for memory in the hippocampus and cerebellum, connecting ideas and thoughts, allowing us to shape-shift and adapt our otherness to an ever-changing world. And it is this power of connection that poetry has as its most fundamental function and gives us the ‘Why of Poetry”. It connects us to each other and to our inner selves. It connects the past to the present, the dead to the living, Mother to daughter, teacher to pupil and colleague to colleague; because it truly holds the fabric that binds us as a society and that is why, in a pandemic where we are living and working more separately ever before, we need poetry more than ever.

Anita Govan         
(Founder, WordLab Arts)
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