Speaking A Truth That Is Not Named

by | Apr 27, 2023 | client challenges

How Poetry Can Help You Find Your Voice

April is one of my favorite months – and yes, one of the reasons is because it is my birthday month! Another reason is that it is National Poetry Month. I have been reading more poetry this month and savoring the way poetry makes art of language.

Poetry uses rhythm and rhyme, metaphor and imagery, storytelling and silence to get our attention, to make us notice what’s around us and inside us.

In the forward to John Fox’s book, Poetic Medicine, a down-to-earth guide to writing poetry, Dr. Rachel Remen says:

“Poetry is simply speaking truth. Each of us has a truth as unique as our own fingerprints….In the most profound way, speaking our truth allows us to know that our life matters, that our viewpoint has never existed before. That our suffering, our joy, our fears and our hopes are important and meaningful.”

Ah, just reading those words makes my breath deepen, my awareness expand. Dr. Remen’s words remind me of the value of turning to the art form of poetry to be inspired by the ways people use language to say what is difficult to say.

I am working with a client who is struggling to write ideas that are not typically expressed in her field. She is trying to speak a truth that is not yet named.

Poetry — both reading it and practicing it, can help give words to what she is yearning to express and not seeing in language around her.

This is what I love to do in my coaching and consulting – help people find their voice. We work together to surface what they care about and give language to it.

When you write about what you think and feel, you hear yourself and make tangible what you care about.

There are many ways to listen to yourself – reading poetry and finding what resonates with you provides a clue.

Another thing you can do is to cut out magazine images and put together a collage, or take a series of photos. Then, go back to see what you’ve cut out or captured. Notice the patterns – what can they tell you about what you are trying to express?

Freewriting is also a gold mine, leading to new insights. I offer a series of prompts and step-by-step guidance in my workbook Journaling Your Values, Vision & Voice.

Here are a few prompts for you now – take 10 or 15 minutes to write and respond to these questions:

What are you not saying? What do you see or notice that you never hear anyone else discuss? What wound is waiting for you to give it a name, so that you may enter and pass through?


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Sande Smith Art ReLuminate Consulting