Should we treat loneliness with poetry?

Sharing realities through lyrical language

Can poetry make us less lonely? Does reading poems have any real power to comfort or heal people? Most people encounter poetry as a solitary experience, reading alone and in silence, so it’s not obvious why poems would bring us closer to our communities or ease loneliness. Surely it’s better to put down the books and go out into the world?

Those who answer no might point to the theory that poetry resonates with an individual’s emotional state (let’s say loneliness), helping them to come to terms with and process how they’re feeling. Support for this theory has sparked a ‘poetry therapy movement’, in which individuals suffering from all manner of conditions, from chronic pain to anxiety, are prescribed, of all things, a poem.

Among the advocates of this movement is the founder of the Forward Prizes for Poetry, and chairman of the Somerset House Trust, William Sieghart CBE, whose book The Poetry Pharmacy prescribes the following poem for loneliness:<

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Yang Ruflo 31 May 2021

I sometimes feel lonely. There are a lot of ways to diverse our emotions. But the main thing to do is to be strong and hopeful that the best is yet to come. Regards!

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Klais Surik 5 March 2021

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