Ignite DFW Speaker Profile: Jeremy Gregg Harnesses the Power of Poetry

Ignite DFW is a night of presentations on a variety of inspired topics—with a twist. Each presentation has 20 slides which automatically advance after 15 seconds. It is a worldwide movement. The third installment of Ignite DFW takes place on Tuesday, January 26 at the Texas Theater in Oak Cliff. Click here to purchase tickets.

Speaker: Jeremy Gregg 

Talk Title: Transforming Negative Thoughts with Poetry

Jeremy Gregg’s career is a multicolored party jacket made from the radiant threads of his eclectic passions. It gleams with the over-bleached cloth of prison jumpers, the bright strands of sweaters abandoned behind homeless shelters, the fine fibers of custom suits from his days in business school. The elbows bear an English teacher’s patches while the lapel cradles a craftwork pin fashioned by his daughters. And the pockets, sewn and resewn again, are stuffed to the brim with dreams.

What sparked the idea for your Ignite talk?

I have written poetry throughout my life. Yet, I always treated it as simply a form of creative expression. I certainly never considered the therapeutic benefits of it; in fact, I recall snidely and arrogantly dismissing such ideas. I saw “real” poetry as a high art, not the sort of thing that you would find in one’s diary. That all changed when my life began to fall apart in early 2015.

Negative thoughts quickly grew into a crippling form of self-doubt as I faced a divorce, unemployment, and mounting debt. Fearing that I would slide into a serious depression, I began researching how to transform these thoughts so that I could begin rebuilding my life. I was shocked when I learned that recent neuroscience research revealed that labeling emotions actually allows the brain to suppress their negative impacts—particularly when using symbolic or metaphorical language.

In other words, poetry could play an important role in transforming the brain’s negative patterns. Given the impact that such thinking can make on all of our lives, I believe that better understanding how to integrate poetic thinking into your day can help anyone build a happier, more fulfilling life.

What’s your day job?

Managing Partner of Gregg Partners, a fundraising consulting firm for nonprofits.

What inspires you and how do you stay motivated?

I read poetry, of course!

What’s your secret passion?

It’s hard to explain, but I love dancing in prison. (Better explained in person than in print.)

What places, spaces, and faces do you recommend for someone visiting Dallas for the first time?

We have a vibrant nonprofit community filled with amazing people who are truly on a mission to change not only Dallas, but the world. Go to CitySquare’s Urban Engagement Book Club. Drop by Soap Hope’s offices. Grab a meal at Cafe Momentum. Get on MeetUp and join one of the many amazing volunteer groups. Dallas is a great place to live if you want to make a difference with your life.

Hear more from Jeremy and the 12 other speakers at Ignite DFW on Tuesday, January 26. Click here to purchase tickets

  • Raquel Vincent is a Dallas-based creative with a knack for words and inspired creative direction. When she's not working, you can find Raquel hitting a gallery opening, working on her book, or thrifting for unforgettable vintage finds. She loves music festivals, tacos, and her rescue cat Berlioz.

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