Two Sylvias' Weekly Muse: December 18, 2022
Hello Poets and Writers!
Did you know that simply sitting down and reading a poem can have a positive effect on our brains which is far more beneficial than reading a self-help book? Since most of us “Musers” are poets, we’re probably saying “Of course!” with our enthusiasm for words, images, metaphor, and rhythm, but what is the actual science behind this claim that poems can enlighten and even heal us?
Several years ago, a study was conducted at the University of Liverpool examining how reading poetry stimulates our creative and cognitive abilities. Volunteers were fitted with scanners which measured brain activity, indicating what areas of the brain were stimulated by reading a poem. The volunteers read poems from such writers as Shakespeare, Wordsworth, and T.S. Eliot, among others, and as they read the poems, their brain activity was carefully measured.
Many of the poems chosen were challenging, stretching the volunteers to make sense of the complexity of language and the poems’ mea…