The Magic of Reading Poetry Aloud: A Response to Hannah Giorgis’s Essay, “How Poetry Can Guide Us Through Trauma”

I was mesmerized by the quote from Natasha Trethewey in Hannah Girogis’s recent essay in The Atlantic (https://lnkd.in/e9jfpXf), “How Poetry Can Guide Us Through Trauma,” when Tretheway expressed, “…I had to put my grief in the mouth of language, because it’s the only thing that will grieve with me….” Grief is ubiquitous and inescapable, and not only can the writing of poetry, “put grief in the mouth of language,” as Trethewey beautifully states, but reading poetry to individuals can be a powerful vehicle to deepen emotional and spiritual reflection, provide comfort in the landscape of word sounds, and help individuals feel less alone. My evolving practice as a counselor and interfaith chaplain now includes a healthy dose of reading poetry aloud including the works of Naomi Shihab Nye, Ada Limón, David Wagoner, Jeanne Lohmann, Mary Oliver, Pádraig Ó Tuama, Jack Gilbert, Joy Harjo, Ross Gay, and Alberto Rios. And, the list goes on. To discover how a particular poem, read aloud, “lands on” a client is illuminating and helps increase reflection, mindfulness, and healing.

griefandpoetry #loss #mindfulness #healing #tenderness #trauma #comfort

Published by Neilo@griefandpoetry

I am an interfaith chaplain who specializes in helping individuals navigate the often unstable and disorienting waters of grief and loss. My clients are often experiencing overwhelming heartache: on the tailwinds of divorce, the death of someone dear, or, from some other life-altering struggle. Others have been carrying loss and trauma for many years, and they suddenly experience an acute form of anxiety or anguish that pushes them to seek more effective strategies to cope.

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