Poetry on the Brain

Thought you might be interested in this research into the impact of poetry.

Ríonach Aiken


Ever since I saw the fascinating BBC documentary a few years ago ‘Why Reading Matters’, I’ve been interested in the impact that reading has on the brain and on human evolution. Liverpool University, whose research was originally featured in that film, has now conducted further pioneering research showing that reading challenging literature ‘acts like a rocket-booster to the brain’ and serves to ‘shift mental pathways, create new thoughts, shapes and connections’.

I was delighted (though entirely unsurprised) to hear that reading poetry, in particular, triggers self-reflection by activating areas within the brain’s right hemisphere associated with autobiographical memory and emotion, ‘causing the reader to reflect and rethink their own experiences in light of what they read.’

“Poetry is not just a matter of style. It is a matter of deep versions of experience that add the emotional and biographical to the cognitive,” said Professor Davis, who argues that…

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