The quote in the above headline is part of the last line of Rainer Maria Rilke's famous sonnet, “ Archaic Torso of Apollo ,” as translated by Stephen Mitchell. It's a haunting line, among the most recognizable second person directives in all of poetry. Each time I read the poem, I find it hard not think that I immediately need to get to work. Life-changing experiences are unpredictable and hard to come by, but poetry is one of the most reliable places I know to seek them. And there's a great opportunity to get more poetry in your life: this August, you can join the thousands of poetry readers around the world who will embark on the 7 th iteration of The Sealey Challenge. The Sealey Challenge was started by poet Nicole Sealey in 2017, when she committed to read a book of poetry each day for the thirty-one days of August and used social media to encourage others to join her. Fast-forward to the present: follow the hashtag #thesealeychallenge online on social media platforms, and you'll see thousands of posts from readers around the globe who are each reading hundreds of poems together every August. Why would you want to spend so much time in one month reading poetry? My assertion: joining others in a community of readers and completing The Sealey Challenge will change your brain, and likely, your life—among many other tangible benefits: • We know reading poetry is good for you. The International Arts + Mind Lab in the Center for Applied NeuroAesthetics at Johns Hopkins University aggregated a range of studies to show that experiences with poetry—reading, writing, and reciting it—can improve mental health, heal traumas, elevate mood, and stimulate the right hemisphere of the brain—critical for creative problem solving. • Experiences with poetry require unique focus and attention. It is estimated that people in America experience between 4,000 and 10,000 advertisements a day, each vying for our attention. If the first two decades of this century have taught us anything, they've taught us that strengthening our attention span helps us understand what is […]
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