Poetic intelligence – the secret at the edge of the poem

Modern times present us with many challenges which necessitate us to perfect the skills for making effective decisions about life, career, and business. We are likely to better face uncertain conditions, radical change and sharp transitions if we strengthen our self-awareness, enhance our creativity and work on our resilience.

Developing poetic intelligence, among teenagers in particular, will allow new patterns of thought to open up, which will help them when making important decisions. Poetic intelligence is the ability to look at both our inner and outer worlds and to give expression to them in words. It allows people to focus on their feelings, thoughts and desires. You might call poetic intelligence the secret at the end of the poem, which helps us dive into our subconscious and articulate images and thoughts, accurately and meticulously, using knowledge, symbolism and language.

Our significant challenge, as educators of the next generation, is to illuminate their path and provide them with tools and skills to better understand our world. Poetic intelligence facilitates self-inquiry and a clear, sharp view of reality. It manages this by using words, phrases, images, metaphors, and associations to create movement and connections between the two sides of the brain.

In education today, society devotes much of its resources to the fields of science and technology, to materialism, to the pursuit of wealth, to general knowledge and of course to sporting prowess. Mathematics places itself in the order of pedagogical hierarchy, as if there are no other relevant areas of opinion.

Slowly however, we are waking up to the magic of movement, sensory experience, deep emotion and to the pleasure of experiencing art, and to their importance in educating humans to appreciate complex and multiple dimensions. More than ever, these elements are critical for building a pluralistic and valuable society.

Education takes place everywhere: at home, on the street, in the neighbourhood, and on the football field. In such a reality, schools should be the leading and central body that allows youth to develop their skills of inner and outer contemplation, testing out behaviour, asking and answering questions.

The educational system must also embed the understanding that the world is complex and has many diverse faces, of which uncertainty is an integral part. The answers are not as clear-cut as in number theory, but contain multiple solutions. In this sense, poetry plays an important and valuable role in the education of a person. Poetry encapsulates linguistic wealth, the values and emotional influences on the individual. Poetry says what is unspeakable and sees the invisible, and as such, it is a first-class, educational tool for strengthening cognition and emotional resilience. Poetry has to expose teens to the values of humanism, to the love of the country, to good citizenship. It must encourage both creativity and matter-of-fact critical thinking.

In its utterance and social appearance, poetry offers a culture of discourse, tolerance and sensitivity, worthy values for a democratic and healthy society. Its multidimensional functions overlap with the elements of experience, sight, thought, language, emotion and colour, to create a sharp, new and harmonious image. Strong intuition and emotional focus increases empathy and understanding of our environment and surrounds.

It is important to generate new, systemic rationale to strengthen the status of poetry on the educational map and in the corridors of schools. Extensive multidisciplinary teaching programs should be developed and school hours allocated to them. It is proposed to allow teachers greater freedom and independence in selecting poems and inviting poets to schools, offering poetic activities as an integral and regular part of the timetable, teaching poetry for matriculation exams, and even in students’ homes. The poetic revolution will be felt in a real way in improving the atmosphere in schools. The social insight must be that poetry is not a luxury gift, a cultural decoration or a therapeutic tool, but rather, it is everything. It is not right for one person to shape another, but as educators it is our duty to empower youth with a sense of belonging, to encourage and motivate them, to create with them and expose them to different ways of self-education, as they are led through the maze of diverse, moral dilemmas and decisions. The feeling that people experience thanks to the development of their poetic intelligence is expressed in their ability to integrate stronger experiences and emotions, to verbally express these emotions and thoughts and to create for themselves more powerful meanings of life, meanings which help to refine the sense of their essence in the world.

About the Author
Shuki Gutman was born in 1966 in Kfar Saba, Israel. He is a poet, educator, and lecturer in poetic intelligence. He studied political science, sociology and anthropology at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and has a Master's degree in multidisciplinary teaching from Oranim Academic College of Education. Gutman studied poetry at the Helicon Poetry School in Tel Aviv. He went on to publish three books in Hebrew “Psanter Mushtak Kol” [Muted Piano (Pardes, 2016)], “Mikud Atzmi” [Focal Point (Eshkolot Poetika, 2018)] and “Kochavim Bayom” [Stars by Day, Iton 77, 2020.] In 2016, Gutman founded the poetry group “Eshkolot Poetica,” which conducts readings and lectures about poetry.
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