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Day 28/11/2012

On Poetry & Business: Integrative Thinking, Creativity & Empathy


Not that I need an excuse to read poetry, but an article published yesterday in the Harvard Business Review, entitled The Benefits of Poetry for Professionals by John Coleman provides a welcome reminder of how ‘useful’ and beneficial reading and writing poems can be. Coleman highlights four virtues related to engaging with poetry:

-poetry teaches us to wrestle with and simplify complexity.

-Poetry can also help users develop a more acute sense of empathy.

-Reading and writing poetry also develops creativity.

-poetry can teach us to infuse life with beauty and meaning

Coleman concludes that “to those open to it, reading and writing poetry can be a valuable component of leadership development”. So without further ado, get your fix of empathy, creativity, beauty and meaning with this glorious poem by Lawrence Ferlinghetti:


Constantly risking absurdity
                                             and death
            whenever he performs
                                        above the heads
                                                            of his audience
   the poet like an acrobat
                                 climbs on rime
                                          to a high wire of his own making
and balancing on eyebeams
                                     above a sea of faces
             paces his way
                               to the other side of day
    performing entrechats
                               and sleight-of-foot tricks
and other high theatrics
                               and all without mistaking
                     any thing
                               for what it may not be


       For he’s the super realist
                                     who must perforce perceive
                   taut truth
                                 before the taking of each stance or step
in his supposed advance
                                  toward that still higher perch
where Beauty stands and waits
                                     with gravity
                                                to start her death-defying leap


      And he
             a little charleychaplin man
                                           who may or may not catch
               her fair eternal form
                                     spreadeagled in the empty air
                  of existence


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