Kelly Van Nelson is the bestselling author of the Graffiti Lane and Punch and Judy poetry collections. She is a trailblazer, raising awareness on anti-bullying and domestic violence, the Managing Director on the executive board of a Fortune 500, and a mum of two. In the spare time she doesn’t have, you can find her hanging out on the open mic changing the world with the spoken word. Here she shares how poetry changes lives. 

The art of poetry has seen a surge in popularity, taking rhyme and reason about the world we live in to larger, more diverse audiences. People of all ages are taking to the pen and the open mic, using the literary word for inner healing and to change the world. Both of my poetry books, Graffiti Lane and Punch and Judy, shine a spotlight on issues that matter, generating conversation and challenging the status quo. Poetry has enormous healing power for so many reasons, including:

Stress Relief

For writers who are time poor, poetry is a wonderful way to produce something in short sprints. Life can be overwhelming in its onslaught of demands. Finding an outlet to channel stress is imperative for maintaining positive mental health. Jotting down a few words on something you want to celebrate is a great way of capturing the essence of joy. Converting trepidations into words can also help let off steam and channel tension from the mind so you can rest easier at night. A poem has the power to heal wounds and be a blessing in so many ways for both creator and audience alike.

A Vehicle for Artistic Expression

For centuries, the use of words has been a core means of communicating to one another, shaping and evolving culture and society. Harnessing language in a succinct way through the vehicle of poetry allows creativity to be refined in such a way that every word, every punctuation, every pause, adds emphasis to what a writer is trying to say. With poetry making the leap in recent years from the page to social media screens, and the visual movement method of kinetic typography smashing into the scene, artistic expression is thriving.

Idea Cultivation

Poetry is an incubator for ideas, with no walls and no ceiling. The increasing popularity of free-form methods compliment traditional form options incorporating rhyme, stanza, and structured verse. There are so many ways to play around with a new concept until it establishes strong roots and grows. A seed can flourish into a flower, die a tragic death, and bloom again next season, all in one breath. Because the mind is looking for the shortest way to articulate an idea, the brain is sharpened and the senses heightened, generating an energy flow to the pointy end of the pen.

Tackling the Taboo

With contemporary poets dominating the bestsellers charts, poetry has been resurrected as a cool way of generating conversation on topics that matter. The traditional rules of poetry are there to be broken. It’s not just the written word gaining traction. With poetry slams gaining popularity, everyone from artists demonstrating love-stricken literary prowess to activists and humanitarians fighting the cause, messages on matters dear to their heart can be succinctly delivered.

Breaking Down Barriers

It’s always tempting to pigeonhole authors into a genre to fulfil the requirements of a particular mould. Poetry breaks boundaries, embracing cultural diversity and uniting hearts and minds. There is no right or wrong and there are no age barriers. Adults and youths alike can appreciate the intricate nuances and skill woven into a poem and embrace the simplicity of a message delivered through unique mediums. Introverts can utilise the quiet page while extroverts can let rip slamming on the open mic. The absence of limitations is liberating.

Kelly’s latest release is Punch and Judy. It’s available from online bookstores and direct from Kelly’s website

Punch and Judy explores the tangled intensity of a toxic relationship. Kelly Van Nelson, brings her trademark gritty style to this modern poetry collection. She takes readers on the rollercoaster journey from attraction and desire of a couple initially meeting, through the turbulence of abuse at the hands of a puppet master, to eventually finding the courage to cut strings and break free. Punch and Judy challenges the taboo and delves into what goes on behind closed doors, bringing much needed conversation on domestic violence to the forefront of society.


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