The Business of Poetry

Guest blogger and motivational coach and performance poet Louise Taylor on business and poetry:


“Without leaps of imagination, or dreaming, we lose the excitement of possibilities. Dreaming, after all, is a form of planning.  Gloria Steinem

Twisted River

Performance Poetry by Louise Taylor

A twisted river flows,

it knows

the way.

Warmly wriggles

over bare toes.

Speeding flows

wash stony beds

Tossing, roaring

torrents soaring

up fishermen’s legs.

Wade in

to shouts of delight,

at childhood swims

in summer light.

A twisted river flows,

it knows

no end.

Poetry is not business and business is not about poetry. Yet as an art form business can learn much from it. Poetry requires an ability to communicate. Business, too, needs to tell its story in order to market its product and, most importantly, it needs to communicate on a human level to its staff, suppliers, and last but not least its customers.  Above all, in a hard hitting economy where the Fear Factor can dominate thinking, businesses must remain creative to maintain a leading edge and have a clear and inspiring vision.  Whilst price is always a factor, customer loyalty is not price led – it is about emotional engagement with a company.  Hence performance poetry brings a veritable circus ring of skills from which business can learn.


Performance poetry, as the name implies, is written for the stage not the page.  As an art form it is the entrepreneur of the spoken word.  It has a freer form, flows, leaps, raps and hip hops.  Its style mirrors the mind and emotions of the successful entrepreneur, who must retain the capacity to adjust, adapt, and take risks, to be inspirational and creative.  By inviting performance poetry into the arena a company not only learns the value of these skills, but also an ability to articulate with language that emotionally engages rather than distances and dehumanises.

Teeming e-mails and nihilistic twitters, that are mere crumbs from the banqueting table of human communication, ensure that our minds become so cluttered we become discombobulated. In an attempt to decipher at the speed of the web we cease to listen. In fact we can’t.

More than 60 per cent of communication is non-verbal.  Is it any wonder that communication and interaction end up in disarray?  All too often, business language can deteriorate into insular jargon, lacking emotional engagement, let alone clarity of meaning where it is most needed.  Far from motivating staff, it can lead to undermining, blocking the free flow of interaction, inspired management and acknowledgement.

In the business of poetry you learn to eliminate unnecessary fogging words and craft a story with the minimum of words. Its performance provides confidence building and communication skills, since you will need to use your intuition, imagination and inspiration to create it.  These are also vital tools in managing the fear factor, focusing on business growth and, most importantly, motivating staff in an economic climate that needs to be seen as challenging not fire fighting.

Listening to a performance poet also fires the imagination. Where we listen from is central to our interactions and dialogue.  Listening from our own cluttered minds and anxious focus we cease to be engaged with the person or people with whom we are in communication.  This is why “Poetry Matters” because without it we cease to dream.


To write performance poetry requires emotional engagement with oneself and others, for its aim is to bring the audience into the world of the poet. It also requires humour, which is a vital tool of successful leadership and an integral part of human nature.  By observing life poetically, we can often find the humour in the most banal as well as the most tragic of situations and carry ourselves forward.  Laughter is a great stimulator of endorphins.  Without it we become stuck in a hamster wheel.  The hamster has an advantage over us – it knows it’s a hamster and is doing what hamsters do best – running round in circles.

It needs an artist’s eye of the world to see both the minutiae of paperclips and the bigger issues of passion, death and rock n’ roll! By learning to view business and its challenges metaphorically and with humour, it becomes possible to focus in an entirely new and revitalised way.  A paperclip can be just a paperclip to a business mind.  To the creative mind it can inspire new ways of exploring problems, like viewing staff difficulties. It may indeed be a metaphor for clipping words together to ensure that they do not fall by the wayside, but are filled with attention- motivating thoughts.  So too, the volatility of markets and downturns might be viewed as existential death experiences from which much can be learnt about leadership.

Through performance poetry the mind is moved from the urgency of the next meeting, sales targets, and profit margins to a place of ease, release and new thinking, moving from the past and the future into the moment to listen in new ways.  This is why “Poetry Matters” for the moment is all there is.


Louise Taylor of Taylor Motivation is a Creative Dynamics motivational coach and performance poet with more than 30 years of business and arts experience.   To learn more about how Poetry Matters motivational talks and coaching can build business confidence and improve performance call her on 07772 464672 or e-mail for a copy of her marketing story:

Performance Poetry works better when spoken aloud – so share this with someone – communicate creativity……

Shout the Sun

(inspired by Liam, aged 12)

by Louise Taylor, Performance Poet

When life is tough

And full of stuff

Not wanted

Scheme a dream


Yip Yap

Rip Rap

Twist and shout

There’ll be no doubt

You’ll win through

When you’re stuck

In a rut

With a belly

Full of jelly

That turns you inside up

Take a drop of joy

Become your favourite toy

Leap and lark

From dawn til dark

Look up not down

Be the clown

Wander barefoot in the sand

Feel the fun inside your hand

Plick pluck it

Tuck it

Under your chin

Take a break

Be a snake

Wiggle your toe

Then let go

Shout the sun

Be your fun!

Sparkle star on the beach

Nothing is ever out of reach.