Language is a marvellous thing, don’t you think? Maybe you don’t, as we take our communication so much for granted as to never ponder it’s existence, or the benefits it provides us. How many of you talk out loud to yourself? You are the minority that have created an extra tool to solve problems, because something pretty cool happens to your brain when you talk out loud – It alters brain function.
I never thought about it either, until i read an interview with the late Clive James earlier this week that highlighted the existence of National Poetry Day and made me think about poems, and my problems with reading them. The vast majority don’t make sense to me. Last summer I bought a beautiful edition of the collected works of Dylan Thomas when I visited the Canolfan Dylan Thomas in Swansea. (Anya was there to do a creative writing course with Eloise Williams). Upon opening the book I was despondent at the realisation that i didn’t get it. I ‘know’ Dylan Thomas was an incredible poet, but no matter how many times I tried reading the words, they were a garbled knot of nonsense in my head. I found it so annoying because I want to fall in love with words, but how can you do that when they are gibberish?
After reading the interview with Clive James I dug out a poem of his, Japanese Maple, and for reasons unknown I read it out loud.
The magic in his words leapt off the screen at me. It was something of a revelation to understand what was going on, so I tried some others that I remember from English Lit studies: Roger McGough, Rupert Brooke, Philip Larkin, A A Milne, Spike Milligan, Pam Ayres. Yes, most of them a fairly accessible but they were suddenly so easy to read.
Benefits of talking out loud
Wondering what was going on I did some research and discovered that simply talking out loud has many benefits. Here are my top 8:
It focuses your attention.
It aids learning
It helps the brain to function quicker
It organises your thoughts
It reduces stress
It gives you self-reliance
It improves performance
It builds creativity
And if those are not good enough reasons to start reading poetry then I don’t know what will be. Remember today is National Poetry Day so pick up an anthology (I have just ordered this one) and read it out loud.