Poetry and storytelling: part I

No, no! The adventures first, explanations take such a dreadful time.

-Lewis Carroll

onceuponatim

In these series of posts “Poetry and Storytelling” I will try to explore possibilities of using poetry as a tool for effective way of storytelling, especially for entrepreneurs and small businesses.

On the one hand entrepreneur as a storyteller and entrepreneur story as a cultural phenomena is already intrinsically established in the group consciousness (especially within the emerging social media networks), yet poetry as a narrative technique and genre is rarely considered as a mean of explaining entrepreneurial journey.

Through literature we can find a lot of evidence where entrepreneurial skills, behavior and entrepreneur’s relationship with the world comes in the form of narrative fables like picaresque tales  which McKenzie, B (2002) in “Understanding Entrepreneurship: A Definition and Model Based on Economic Activity and the Pursuit of Self-Identity”, so beautifully demonstrated. The study describes the use of oral narrative by entrepreneurs to exchange important information and induces a new definition of entrepreneurship: an economic activity undertaken by social individuals in their pursuit of self-identity.

O’Connor, E., in the paper “Storied Business: Typology, intertextuality, and traffic in entrepreneurial narrative”, states that “entrepreneur needs to be a storyteller”, an ‘epic hero’, capable of offering emotional connection to his audience, a character with whom audience can identify with, rejoice, suffer, celebrate, fail – simply experience everything. In other words, successful entrepreneur is giving tangible experience through his business story and that’s what makes his story and business alive. Use of mythology, eulogy, metaphor, epic and fairytales, permeated with humor and sudden twists is a winning recipe for a business story that captures attention.

Rationalists, wearing square hats by Wallace Stevens

Rationalists, wearing square hats,

Think, in square rooms,

Looking at the floor,

Looking at the ceiling.

They confine themselves

To right-angled triangles.

If they tried rhomboids,

Cones, waving lines, ellipses—

As for example, the ellipse of the half-moon-

Rationalists would wear sombreros.

These verses clearly signify the importance of creativity as an entrepreneurial skill. Words are empowering and encourage us to think “outside the box”, outside our limited senses and borders given by societal norms.

This poem in particular was used by Price Waterhouse Management Consultants in an advertisement (Sunday Times, 22.10. ’95) to attract open-minded (entrepreneurial) individuals with creative abilities, ready to question and challenge everything that is predefined and ordinary.

Poetry evokes emotions, stimulates thinking and inspiration. In the posts to come, I will further research how successful entrepreneurs have used poetry to communicate their business ideas.

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