Holding the space

I like to think of poetry as providing space. A novel fills in all of the detail so we can feel like there is a whole world created that we can walk around in our head. We can see the house on the hill, the details of the room we are walking into, the physical features of the characters. Whereas poetry allows space for us to bring our own experiences to the reading. In this way poetry builds bridges. It’s a bridge between poet and reader as the reader brings their thoughts and emotions to the reading. It’s a bridge between one reader and another who may have very different interpretations of the same poem. Both readings can, of course, be right. Whenever we discuss different interpretations of a poem we realise that everyone has something unique to offer. Everyone’s life experience and the way they have processed that experience makes their perspective different. At the same time poetry can also bring us together to share the emotions of human experience. In this way I think poetry is like counselling. Both provide space for us to process our own unique emotions and experiences, and both can also be a journey in empathy whether for ourselves or for one another.