Can poetry boost your business?

Does imagery and rhythm have a place in the content you create for marketing, social media, internal messaging? The common belief that poetry is only for a certain kind of discernable reader, or has to be abstract gives it an untouchable, unreachable reputation. However, if content creation for your business was thought of as poetry, could your brand feeling be better captured and delivered?

Forbes contributor, Stephanie Denning recounts an anecdote after interviewing a Lincoln Centre for the Performing Arts executive for a business school paper. She says, “I concluded the interview by asking him to what he owed his success. His most unusual answer: Eloquence.”

Louis Menand, writer for the New Yorker, said in his article “Can Poetry Change Your Life” "..poetry does have a rightful place in the world, poetry can change your life and your ability to inspire others.” What does this mean? Should we be hiring poets to do our content creation, to help us inspire our customers and ignite our brand?

How can hiring a poet help you and your business?

Gain eloquence. Do you hire a contractor to write your blogs, website copy, video concepts? This time around, hire a poet to get a different perspective on what your business says, how it says it, and how well it actually communicates your most important messages. You might discover a business edge you never thought you had. Denning also makes note of the language of business.

Denning points out that business language can be “boringly uniform,” and gives examples, “core competency, buy-in, holistic, agile, forward-looking, reengineering, excellence, scale.” Low-hanging fruit is another that comes to mind. Poets can help you better define your business, and move out jargon.

Simplify complex business problems. Sidney Harman of Harman Industries told the New York Times in 2007 article ‘C.E.O. Libraries Reveal Keys to Success’, “I used to tell my senior staff to get me poets as managers. Poets are our original systems thinkers. They look at our most complex environments and they reduce the complexity to something they begin to understand.”

Yes, poetry helps to stir the imagination and develop an appreciation for what art can show and teach us. But poetry is also about analysis. Even the most literate among us have to break down imagery, structure, language and rhythm of a poem to see how they all work together to create the whole, but also how they work on the conscious and unconscious mind.

Better understanding of your customers. The Poetry Foundation released a study in 2006 that outlined what poetry can do for readers. “ One thematic benefit poetry users cited was “understanding” ---of the world, the self and others.” Imagery and word rhythm may seem like it doesn’t have much application in the business world, but it also might be able to help us accomplish exactly what we want—to touch our customers, show empathy for a customer’s pains and solution with our products and services.

Poetry uses “devices”, such as rhetoric, simile, and metaphor that can help us see our customer’s and their pains in a different light.

Look for poetry in your everyday life. It’s easy to just cast a poem to a corner of your mind, or ignore it when one pops up in front of you. The next time that happens, read it, then read it again. And again. Also, read more fiction. April is deemed National Poetry month in the U.S. and Canada, but the long months of winter seem like a most appropriate time to settle in with a book poetry to dissect.

Now, where would a post on the advantages or poetry leave us if we didn’t end with a poem. Here’s a couple to sit on today.




The moon drops one or two feathers into the field.

The dark wheat listens.

Be still.


There they are, the moon's young, trying

Their wings.

Between trees, a slender woman lifts up the lovely shadow

Of her face, and now she steps into the air, now she is gone

Wholly, into the air.

I stand alone by an elder tree, I do not dare breathe

Or move.

I listen.

The wheat leans back toward its own darkness,

And I lean toward mine.

*posted from

November for Beginners


Snow would be the easy

way out—that softening

sky like a sigh of relief

at finally being allowed

to yield. No dice.

We stack twigs for burning

in glistening patches

but the rain won’t give.

So we wait, breeding

mood, making music

of decline. We sit down

in the smell of the past

and rise in a light

that is already leaving.

We ache in secret,


a gloomy line

or two of German.

When spring comes

we promise to act

the fool. Pour,

rain! Sail, wind,

with your cargo of zithers!

November 1981

*posted from


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