The Poetry Salon

About The Poetry Salon


Since 2012, The Poetry Salon has grown in size, service and reputation. From assisting more than 100 of Los Angeles’ writers in refining their work and getting it published, to inspiring new artists to find their voice, The Poetry Salon creates a community where anyone can access their creativity and grow. It is a thriving organization where writers can choose between one-day writing workshops, online e-classes, in-depth craft classes, and creativity workshops for leaders and teams. Participants showcase their work four times a year at cumulative class readings, and many members of The Poetry Salon have gone on to win awards, and even teach creative writing classes of their very own.

The Benefits of Playing with Poetry

There is a flotilla of new research being conducted now on the benefits of reading, writing and discussing poetry. Among the positive outcomes are the ability to

  • see things more clearly
  • develop intuition and emotional IQ
  • increase empathy with others
  • come up with creative solutions to problems in the arts and in business
  • lower blood pressure
  • reduce anxiety
  • increase energy

According to the research of James Pennebaker, writing as little as 15 minutes a day can improve energy levels and mood. But not just any writing will give you that benefit. Writing that incorporates certain techniques that are used in poetry and creative writing classes have proven to be the most helpful in creating positive health benefits, according to Clare Morgan, author of What Poetry Brings to Business.

Poetry also helps you improve communication skills. Those who study poetry may not only learn how to write stellar works of art, but can also carry those skills over into their communication at home, at work, or on the subway! Better communication leads to better relationships, and a better life.

The Value of Poetry – Opinions from Some Wise People

When power leads man toward arrogance, poetry reminds him of his limitations. When power narrows the area of man’s concern, poetry reminds him of the richness and diversity of existence. When power corrupts, poetry cleanses.

– John F. Kennedy

What sense does it make to put creativity on an equal footing with survival? How, for example, could anyone find comfort and efficiency in crawling into a damp black cave in southern France to spit chewed pigments on entombed rock faces in patterns portraying wild beasts? . . . The short answer is that, as we became the most socially interdependent mammals known to exist, the mechanisms we evolved to survive in the physical world seem to have been co-opted to manage our well-being in the social world. Survival in the savanna depends on a brain that is wired to make sense of the environment, and to play out the things it notices through patterns of bodily and metal reactions. . . With all the inter-relating and mind-reading and emphasizing that we do with each other, and even with the moon when we so indulge ourselves, comes a drive to express ourselves, to understand and move others to live something from our own life, to assign meaning and purpose to the activities we engage in, the products we create, and the concepts we learn. The health of our social identity is every bit as important as our physical well-being because we feel them both on the same neural platforms. . . What current neuroscience findings are showing us is that the feeling of creating, the satisfaction it provides, may get its inspirational power by virtue of its connections to the mechanisms that promote and feel our bodily survival and satisfaction, in the most basic, literal sense.

– Mary Helen Immordino-Yang, Musings on the Neurobiological and Evolutionary Origins of Creativity via a Developmental Analysis of One Child’s Poetry

…When people say that poetry is a luxury, or an option, or for the educated middle classes, or that it shouldn’t be read in school because it is irrelevant, or any of the strange and stupid things that are said about poetry and its place in our lives, I suspect that the people doing the saying have had things pretty easy. A tough life needs a tough language – and that is what poetry is. That is what literature offers — a language powerful enough to say how it is. It isn’t a hiding place. It is a finding place.

– Jeanette Winterson

Poetry helps us know each other and build community. In this blog, I described how poetry can be used at the start of the year to learn about where students come from and who they are. Poetry can allow kids to paint sketches of their lives, using metaphor, imagery and symbolic language to describe painful experiences, or parts of themselves that they’re not ready to share. Poetry allows kids to put language to use-to make it serve a deep internal purpose, to break rules along the way (grammar, punctuation, capitalization — think of e.e. cummings) and to find voice, representation, community perhaps.”

– Elena Aguilar, Five Reasons Why We Need Poetry in Schools

Does poetry heal? As a neurologist I can tell you that it does . . . Any poem that I read to you or that you read to me is going to cause a cascade of events in the brain that we don’t yet understand. But we do know this can influence brain function – changing chemicals and changing the ways that receptors are receiving information. Changing overall mood can change and improve function . . . Because the brain is smart. It is plastic and it can change.

– Dr. Michael Okun, from the film Healing Words: Poetry & Medicine

Tell me something. What do you think is the key to a successful life? My answer is that the key a successful life is the ability to solve problems. Problem solving is really what we do all day long. It is said that we make 5,000 decisions a day, most of them small—should I walk over to see John or should I text Sarah? But they get bigger as life goes on—should I buy this house now, or rent and wait? The basis of decision making is problem solving, since every decision is in some respects a problem that needs to be solved.

And what is the foundation of effective problem solving? It’s creative thinking. The ability to identify exactly what the real problem is, what are some possible solutions, and which solution is most likely to work best with the fewest tradeoffs.

And how do you learn creativity? By studying art and poetry and literature and books in general.

– Robert Harris, Is Studying Poetry Useless?, Virtual Salt

If I had to live my life again I would have made a rule to read some poetry and listen to some music at least once every week… The loss of these tastes is a loss of happiness, and may possibly be injurious to the intellect, and more probably to the moral character, by enfeebling the emotional part of our nature.”

– Charles Darwin, “Darwin’s Regret” Psychology Today

When we are told in dozens of insidious ways that our lives don’t matter, we may be forced to insist, often far too loudly, that they do. A creative-writing class may be one of the last places you can go where your life still matters.

– Richard Hugo, The Triggering Town 

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