07 Jan
Graffiti sign stating "Poetry."

By Rick McVicar

     “You should know the act of opening is itself        a container—everything about the language of body is public.”   

  These words from Samantha Deal’s poem, “You Asked What Happened,” are found in Something Opened (Black Lawrence Press, 2020), p. 3.  The poem begins a collection of poetry about Deal’s recovery from a life-changing car accident. She was a passenger in a car driven by her brother.   

  Poetry like Deal’s conveys a sense of loss and suffering after tragic events. Despite being left with a severe disability, Deal was able to eloquently express her pain to a wide audience of readers. The poet also describes a myriad of emotions towards her family members as well.   

  Deal's type of poetry is common among writers being served by poetry therapists. A few of them might have their poetry published.   

  Poetry therapy is recognized as a credible profession by the American Psychological Association's Dictionary, found online. Therapists use poetry and other creative writings to “foster healing and personal growth,” according to the dictionary’s listing. Poetry and other forms of writing can be helpful for brain health.   

  The profession includes book reading and writing as well. For instance, an article in the Journal of Poetry Therapy, Vol. 34, Issue 4, 2021, describes an analysis of autobiographies. The article, “A Caring Scientific Study of Life and Creative Writing,” July 15, 2021, led by Johanna Sandback, describes how creative writing can help with handling life’s changes.   

  The researchers write in their abstract that after studying three published autobiographies, they found “a global theme that shows the understanding of life as a humble stance toward its changefulness.”  

  In the wake of current events, many would agree they could use a little help adjusting to life’s changes. Creative writing and reading might be a helpful tool for coping with all that is going on in the world.   

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