The act of writing and reading poetry creates a sacred space in which we can grieve, heal, rejoice, play, rest, plan, reconsider. We explore our frontiers through Poetry Therapy.
If you could find and develop a tool that allowed you more and more self-awareness and that tool helped you think about the challenges in your life more creatively than you have in years, if that tool helped you move past the feelings that have left you stuck in so many situations, would you want it? If I told you that you could have that tool with much less effort than almost any other kind of therapy, would you consider it? I hope you would because that is exactly what using poetry as part of the healing journey has been for many, many people. Poetry strengthens the connection between your head and your heart easier and better than anything else.
Since attending trainings with John Fox, former president of the National Association For Poetry Therapy, in 1998 and again in 1999, Domenic Tamborriello has often used poetry therapy to help his clients heal and grow. To date, he has facilitated 75 poetry groups each lasting a minimum of ten weeks. That means he has facilitated over 800 sessions of poetry therapy. He is convinced that poetry is the single most efficient and effective therapeutic tool he has ever encountered. In other words, people go further, faster, and easier towards their goals using poetry than any other kind of therapy.
Would poetry therapy be something that could help someone with my issues? Almost certainly. I have yet to see any client not be helped using poetry. I have seen it do more for someone with obsessive-compulsive disorder than medication did. So whether you’re struggling with low self-esteem, relationship issues, family-of-origin issues, career issues, anger issues, or just about anything, I am confident that what you get from poetry group will help you.
What would I have to do? Nothing that you don’t want to. You wouldn’t have homework. You wouldn’t have writing or reading assignments. You wouldn’t be expected to learn the craft of poem-making. This is not to turn people into poets or to turn people who write poetry into better poets or to get good poets published. This is only about developing a tool that increases your self-awareness through writing. All you’d be asked to do is to show up at poetry group with a notebook, a pen, and an open mind.
How does it work? Poetry group meets weekly. Usually in the evenings but sometimes earlier or on the weekend based on the needs of the people in the group. Groups are between 4 and 8 people. They will never grow beyond eight people.
It starts with a Check In round. This gives people a chance to talk about what’s going on in their lives; what they’re struggling with, what they’re celebrating. Check In round shows people who seem to have little in common that there is much more common ground than they may have imagined.
After Check In, I provide a Stimulus for Writing. It could be a single word, a poem or two, a video of HBO’s Def Poetry Jam, or anything else. Following some discussion about what was presented, you would have 20 to 25 minutes to write. With that format, two things happen. First; it’s only 20 to 25 minutes. That means no one is expecting a masterpiece. As a result, the performance anxiety evaporates pretty quickly. Secondly, you have enough time to think about what you want to write, but not over-think. That means that what people write comes more from their gut than their head. Because of that, it almost has to be beautiful because it’s so real, so authentic. Each person then has a chance to read aloud what they’ve written. Someone reads once and that is followed by some discussion of and reaction to what was just read. That person reads a second time to give us a chance to hear what we missed the first time and then more discussion follows. Then the next person reads and so on and so on.
What we find is that this process frequently reveals the most beautiful sides of a person. Listening to the poems is the equivalent of being in a place where hand grenades of beauty are exploding all around you. Trust me, if you try poetry group once, you’ll be amazed at what comes out of you and everyone else in the room.
How much does it cost? Fees for poetry group run between $20 and $50.00 per session based on ability to pay.
Can I see some examples of what some people have written? Yes. This stuff is so cool. I can’t wait for you to read it. Just click on any of the titles below. Almost every person who has been in poetry group is new to writing poetry and would never have seen themselves as being able to do this.