Is Writing Cathartic?

This morning as I slowly drove through traffic on 17th Street gently jostled by the manhole covers and pot holes, my heart was awakened by a response given during a Morning Edition interview.

“I still feel that poetry is not medicine — it’s an X-ray.
It helps you see the wound and understand it.”

The interviewee, a poet who had endured great trauma during her final weeks in Iraq before leaving her homeland, was saying that her life’s work had in fact not healed her but that it was still needful and beneficial.

Merriam-Webster defines catharsis as both a purification bringing about renewal as well as elimination of a complex through the process of expression. Do you find writing to be cathartic? In only considering this question very briefly, I find myself in agreement with our brave poet – that it is part of the journey of renewal. At least for me.

As World Poetry Day enjoys its final hour (at least here in the Eastern Standard time zone), I send you my best wishes that your writing, your word collecting and shuffling, brings you joy, peace, release, clarity on your journey.

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