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Utilizing Poetry to Impact The Lives of Teenagers

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Synnika Lofton on The Hampton Roads ShowPoetry still manages to motivate people to interpret the world the way they experience it. Everyday poets utilize the unique expression of poetry to confront serious issues in their lives, such as low self-esteem, depression, and loss. It’s extremely important to teach young people to express themselves in positive ways because some youth may not feel comfortable openly talking about their problems. They may process their experiences differently and may need more time—and the proper environment—to fully comprehend what’s going on inside their heads. Adults understand how complicated emotions are to deal with, so giving students unique ways to express themselves is extremely important. Poetry is just one of those ways to deal with the complexities of life. At CBA, we teach young people the power behind the written word, spoken word, and other expressive art forms. 

Click here to watch Synnika on The Hampton Roads Show.

As a powerful, literary art form, poetry continues to impact the world. Since young people are continually looking for solutions to their everyday problems, why not help them use the vehicle of poetry to navigate their various emotions?  Traditional poets, non-traditional poets, street poets, and academic poets frequent open mics, readings, and classrooms to hone their craft and push the boundaries of creativity. At the least, these poets use poems as outlets for their ideas and emotions. They all understand the need for poetry’s unique, artistic expression.

Young people are given a tremendous amount of expectations. Some of those expectations are internal and some are external. Add to those expectations an extra helping of peer pressure. You now have a mixture that is socially and mentally harmful. Poetry can serve as a great way to channel the complex energies of the teenage life. We all know that navigating this period in life is a bit chaotic. We also know that this period is very important to an individual’s identity. Being able to balance expectations and peer pressure are just two things young people, teenagers, and high school students regularly have to manage.   

Introducing poetry is an effective method of communication. Through its innovative structure, young people or teenagers are able to understand their own emotions. Teenagers can utilize the fluid structures of poetry to reveal how they really feel about their lives. For example, Free Verse allows the poet to determine how he/she wants to organize the poem. There are other forms, such as Haiku, Sonnet, and Concrete, which may allow students effective ways to hide, conceal, or even voice their experiences. Poetry gives the user the ability to hide his/her beliefs, as well as the ability to talk about them openly.

Each generation is presented with its own set of challenges, and finding the best ways to communicate can be difficult, especially for young people, teenagers, and high school students who are dealing with the weight of expectations, social circles, and complex emotions. Poetry—or any other artistic expression—may provide some sort of emotional relief for young people who need a creative outlet to express themselves. If they are unable to confide in a supportive adult or a friend, what’s the harm in teaching them to communicate with themselves?