Poetry is whatever the hell you want it to be

poetryBy definition, poetry is “literary work in which the expression of feelings and ideas is given intensity by the use of distinctive style and rhythm.”  I tend to describe poems as being similar to songs but, then again, I think that they are even more fluid than that, especially as time has gone on. Poetry has become more diverse than ever, especially as of late, and this has undoubtedly had both positive and negative repercussions.

There’s a kind of fad going around at the moment, commonly referred to as the “Instagram poetry craze” where people write poems, usually quite short in length, and post them in a little square picture on their Instagram accounts. That’s basically the gist of it, anyway. After Rupi Kaur’s masterpiece Milk and Honey took the world by storm, it seems that many young people have found inspiration in her style of work. Typically poems that, although usually quite short and simple, hold a great deal of meaning and emotion and seem to hit you right “in the feels” as the kids would say. Oh yeah, by the way, I’m an 80 year old in a 22 year old’s body. But let’s move on from that.

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One hundred and forty-one days

momx
February, 1995

When I was a child, I used to wonder whether you had even been real or not. I’d sit and I’d think about you as if you were a fictional character; never really a living, breathing human being, but rather just the smiling face in a picture frame above my bed who we only ever spoke of through cracked voices and quiet sobs. It was perplexing for me back then. I was always told that if I looked out of my window at night, the brightest star would always be you telling me that everything was going to be ok. It’s funny actually, because that’s something that has stayed with me my entire life. Even now, at the age of twenty-two, if the sky is unclear it unnerves me. It’s silly, really, isn’t it?

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The Birth of a Poem

poetryWhen I write a poem, there aren’t typically any rules or restrictions. For the most part, if I get an idea, the rest will all spill out at once no matter where I am or what I’m doing and I’ll have to write it down immediately. I mean, if I’m lucky. I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve had to jot stuff down on a blank receipt at work because I just couldn’t risk forgetting it. If it wants to come out, it just will. However, I’d be lying if I said that it was always as simple as that. It is certainly possible for a great idea to fizzle out if I don’t give it the right attention, or if I leave it alone for too long and lose momentum. I also do naturally find it a little harder to divulge into my *writer head space* when in certain situations or around certain people, and that definitely makes the process a little longer and more challenging. This, in turn, brings me onto four main parts of my creative process that I’d like to share with you. I’m by no means an expert, but I just do what feels right for me, and I hope that this will help you find what feels right for you!

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A Clean Slate

SAM_1637

Back in 2013, I wanted nothing more than to write. 

I had so much going on inside my head, yet nowhere to really express any of it. I wasn’t entirely sure what I was doing at the time, but I ended up starting a blog. It looked awful and I was absolutely clueless, but I kept going and learned so much as I did so. I wrote and I wrote and I wrote some more, not expecting anybody to read any of it; I was just happy to have somewhere to share my thoughts, connect with like-minded people and, most importantly, be myself. Blogging wasn’t as huge as it is now, and I genuinely enjoyed what I was doing. There was no pressure and no drama (that I was aware of) and as an eighteen year old making it out into the world, it felt like the right way to go.

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