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writer...performer...sometime pop-up cinema host.

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Friday, 31 March 2017

Using Poetry to Express Yourself

When it comes to sharing emotions to each other there are plenty of ways to express yourself; you could scream and shout, which perhaps is the default setting for a lot of us; you could stop and chat about the situation; some like to leave it brewing inside as if it were a slow-cooked stew that just gets hotter and hotter until it boils over but you could also use art to express how you are feeling.

Children especially find it difficult to express what is going on inside of them, and this can be difficult to overcome. Yet, using art to allow them freedom to share their emotions and to really take a close look at them can help in their overcoming situations that they find themselves in.

As a writer and storyteller, I am very much a fan of using words to express feelings. For me there is no better way of dealing with those difficult times than to write about it and release it into the open world. I think that it is a very important step to take when I am feeling particularly low or anxious.

Writing offers you a variety of frameworks to choose from, there is creative story writing, or telling the story straight as an autobiographical piece; you could choose to write a play about your experience, or a short story and you could choose poetry.

Now poetry is something that in my experience seems to strike a note of fear into children. But if you made it fun, and relaxed the rules a little, then it is a very useful tool to use for expressing those emotions that are difficult to put into words.

A poem is a painting without the pictures. It does not have to rhyme and does not have to stick together as a narrative. It is form of free-thought which gives you permission to just say exactly how you feel. This is especially so of spoken word poetry, which needs to have a beat to it but can be delivered in any way that you see fit. It also allows you to add movement and choreography to the piece, which may help when you are delivering the words and feeding them to the audience. Performance poetry is a wonderful way to express those feelings that lurk deep inside and by releasing them it frees you up to experience something else.

I am developing a class to take out to schools to not only promote performance poetry but also to show that is a useful tool for dealing with emotions that seem to be getting the better of you.

Imagine the thrill of not only expressing yourself on paper, but being given permission to say it aloud without being judged by anyone. These are your emotions and they are valid, we, the audience have to listen without prejudice.

It is a difficult art form to write, but no harder than penning a short story or conventional poem. The beauty of it is that you can see instant results when you have performed it; a sense of real achievement.

Let your mind wander and take in the smells, tastes, feelings that surround you. Drink it all in and then express it on a piece of paper that only you will read. Edit some of the words until you are happy with the flow of the piece and then stand up and say it aloud.

Zac Thraves is a storyteller and writer living in Kent; if you wish to book him to come along to your party, young or old,  or to give a speech at your local school then please contact him at zacharystories@outlook.com    

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