Grief is one of life’s experiences that is common to all humanity. It is a universal emotion that can be triggered by different kinds of loss such as death, illness, divorce, or other trauma. It can be overwhelming and cause great pain, anger, guilt, sadness, and even despair.


Despite these difficulties, grief can also facilitate creativity, healing, and growth. Poetry is just one of the artistic outlets that people can use to help them work through their grief and express their feelings in a meaningful way.


Kevin Young, author of The Art of Losing: Poems of Grief and Healing sums it up like this: “I think it is in grief that we need some reminder of our humanity—and sometimes, someone to say it for us. Poetry steps in at those moments when ordinary words fail: poetry as ceremony, as closure to what cannot be closed.”


Through poetry, emotions and thoughts can be conveyed through language, rhythm, imagery, and metaphor. There is an opportunity to connect the poet and the reader who may have or still be sharing similar experiences. The poet’s words can offer comfort, peace, hope, and insight to both the writer and the reader.


Throughout the years, some of the most highly regarded poets have penned works specifically touching the subject of grief—poets such as Maya Angelou, Dylan Thomas, Walt Whitman, Sylvia Plath, and Rumi. Their words have brought comfort and reflection to millions of people across cultures and time and have inspired countless other poets and artists to explore their own grief through their work. Likewise, writing down thoughts in a journal or poetry form also has many positive and therapeutical effects.


Indeed, grief and poetry are both deeply connected to the human condition. As they express the complexity and depth of human emotion, together they can help make sense of things that are often difficult to understand and help us find meaning in life.