Poetry wakes up our outlaw brain.
In our hyper-productive world, a poem can be a quiet disruptor. A poem can crack open a nucleus of feelings and ideas inside the most unsuspecting listener to heed another way of shaping a day, of viewing life, of standing up and singing out. A poem can slow us down to feel a moment’s music.
According to some neuroscientists, poetry is the music of the mind. Poetry stimulates brain areas linked to that “shiver-down-the-spine” response we feel when listening to music, watching a purple sunset streak a skyscraper, or hear a phrase that makes our brain flip over.
I want these poems to startle and strip readers of the defenses that hold their voice in and their spirit back.
Poetry stirs our outlaw brain out of its cave. If the law-abiding brain is the literal, logical, rational brain that insists upon black-and-white thinking and is concerned with reputation and order and bottom-line rationales, then the outlaw brain says, “Wait. There’s more. And it’s messy. It’s meaningful. It’s musical.” The outlaw brain twists language and feels its way in metaphor, paradox, ambiguity.
For a moment, what clothes our eyes or guards our heart falls away.