When Words Arrive

A Qualitative Study of Poetry as a Community Development Tool

Jill Hanley and Sandra D. Sjollema

Poetry, among the arts, remains understudied as a means for community development. To address this scarcity, this paper considers the use of poetry as a community development tool and discusses its uniqueness in this role. It offers a description and analysis of an exploratory, qualitative research study carried out with twelve respondents in Montreal, Canada, who participated in community-based creative writing groups. Evaluation suggested that, overall, the poetry groups made a positive contribution to community building and development. This paper locates the study in the context of community development and the arts and includes references to poetry therapy and social action-based creative writing. It also raises questions as to why poetry has not found its place on the agenda of arts-based community development.

Source: Article Abstract