Why Is Poetry Important?

Poetry is one of the most universal vehicles of human expression, and one of the most important of all written media for describing experiences. Research has also concluded that teaching students poetry offers measurable results in a wide set of linguistic domains.

Poetry is a constant, being produced by all known civilizations from ancient to modern times. Throughout this extensive history, poetry has been made to address a vast array of subject matters, including love, war, social issues, the beauty of nature and the love of God. In part, poetry achieves its power through the use of various devices that not only seduce the reader, but also enhance the oral delivery of the piece. These devices include rhyme scheme, meter and line breaks. Additionally, because poetry is meant to invoke experiences, it emphasizes the role of the senses, calling to mind memories and feelings in stirring and sometimes turbulent ways.

Research into the efficacy of teaching poetry has demonstrated that such instruction yields higher levels of literary and linguistic awareness, along with also bolstering oral and written vocabularies. Furthermore, a 2002 study of California classrooms concluded that teaching poetry, particularly with stress upon metaphor, imagery, rhyme and meter, elevated students’ critical thinking skills. Finally, because the expressive boundaries of poetry are virtually unlimited, it is an excellent tool for encouraging students’ creativity and for exposing the aesthetically elastic boundaries of language.