It’s a common misconception to see introversion and extroversion as mutually exclusive. The truth is, most of us fall somewhere in between. But if you find yourself needing a chance to recharge after social events, noisy environments, or stimulating circumstances, you just might have a few introverted tendencies. And in that case, we’ve made a list of our 8 favorite poems to help refresh and recharge your mind during your alone-time.
“Sanctuary” by Jean Valentine
Award-winning Chicago-born poet Jean Valentine replicates the scattering thoughts, feelings, and emotions we experience in solitude. “Sanctuary,” from her book collection Door in the Mountain, consists of deliberate spacing, interesting line breaks, and rhythm-inducing punctuation to create a stream-of-consciousness style of poem in which the speaker asks, answers, imagines, and fears all at once.
“Intronet” by Hannah Berry
“Being alone is different from being lonely,” says award-winning poet and musician Hannah Berry. Performed at the 2015 Heart-Mind Conference, this powerful spoken word poem is a reminder that introversion is not a sign of meekness. Berry also makes the case for face-to-face interaction over social media and says she has a special place in her heart for those brave enough to ask, “How are you” in the flesh.
“Ode on Solitude” by Alexander Pope
This eighteenth-century British poet offers us a gentle reminder to appreciate our surroundings. “Blest, who can unconcernedly find / Hours, days, and years slide soft away, / In health of body, peace of mind…” he writes. “Ode on Solitude” praises those who live a quiet, modest living in synergy with the land and trees.
“The Introvert’s Banter” by Rabia Kapoor
Mumbai-based poet Rabia Kapoor opens up about crippling shyness, social awkwardness, and the race to get your words out before an extrovert takes center stage. Introverts may often feel crowded-out by more extroverted personalities. While introverts may have great stories, valid points, and interesting ideas, it’s not always easy to be heard. “The Introvert’s Banter” is a call for us to make space for introverts in an extroverted world.
“I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud” by William Wordsworth
This calming poem by English Romantic poet William Wordsworth invokes a soft sense of wonder in the reader. With images of clouds, rolling hills, daffodils, a glittering lake, and breezy trees, Wordsworth paints the picture that being alone doesn’t have to feel lonely. In fact, it’s a perfect reminder of just how small we are in this vast universe, and how important it is for us to stop, take a breath, and soak it in.
“How to Love Your Introvert” by Kevin Yang
“Just because I do not wear my heart on my sleeve for everyone to see does not mean that it beats any softer than yours,” says Kevin Yang in this hard-hitting spoken word poem. Yang explains how social events can seem more like a marathon for introverts than a fun outing, and how coffee with friends is often preferred over a noisy nightclub.
“The Sound of One Fork” by Minnie Bruce Pratt
“Her younger neighbors think that she is lonely. / But I know what sufficiency she may possess,” writes essayist, feminist, and educator Minnie Bruce Pratt. “The Sound of One Fork,” tells the story of a woman who lives on her own—her family, children, and lovers in other states. Despite her loneliness, she feels a sense of self-sufficiency, individuality, and independence.
“Crowds” by Charles Baudelaire
Nineteenth-century French poet Charles Baudelaire puts into words how it feels to be alone in a crowd. “The solitary and thoughtful stroller finds a singular intoxication in this universal communion,” he writes. Baudelaire argues that enjoying a crowd is an art—it takes the willingness to suspend the ego to become part of something bigger than ourselves.