Book Reviews






World Poetry Day was last week. I had this post ready to go on Friday, but couldn't post it. I needed to Umm and Ahh about it over the weekend. In many ways, I think it's too personal to be on the blog, but then I think what is World Poetry Day about, if not sharing a love of poems?

I'm taking you back to a time when poetry was the quintessential right of passage for the lonely teenager. Days when you honestly believed no-one gazed upon the sky and saw its true depth as you did. The moments when you felt you were the only one to witness the small things, and believe in them. The minutes you contemplated the universe and felt your miniscule heartbeat in the grander scheme of things. A selfish time, no doubt, but possibly the most creative.

Teenage years were for bucking authority, trends and "the way of things", and I took it quite to heart. I went to rock gigs because the rest of my classmates went dancing. I wore corsets and platforms because I thought I liked the discomfort. (That sounds ridiculous but, looking back, I feel it's probably the only thing that kept me awake through class readings of As You Like It, and therefore my corset got me my grades - ha!) I took art because I was good at science. I read books because I would rather spend my time dreaming about a better world in the library than experiencing the goodness of the one in front of me every day. I wrote poetry because in the world I had created to live in, nobody "understood".

Oh teenage years, how I regret, but would never change you.

I did a great many things I now wish I hadn't as a teenager. I'm a little embarrassed of the hole I backed myself into. But, ultimately, they were the best years of my life. I explored so much of my creativity in that time, and I thought I would share a part of it with you in honour of World Poetry Day.

Sometimes I find scraps of paper between the pages of a book I'm reading, and I realise it is a remnant of a time long past. When I read what is written on the scrap, I am transported to a version of myself so long gone it's like reading about someone else. A lot of the time it makes me sad for how I was. Most of the time, I'm sad because I don't think I can write the way I used to any more.

Looking beyond the dark days that lead to such states, an appreciation of those lonely moments in life genuinely aid something creative in the soul. Do you need to be unhappy to be creative? No, but I think it has its own certain type of poetry.

This is something I found hidden between pages recently:

An elaborate scribble
At the bottom of a page
Lost in an era
And fallen to fiction.
Whether a legend in life,
As much as in myth,
Is as much of a character
In novels, on screens,
Than it is to the thousands
Of hopefuls that sleep
Just to dream.

I tried writing a poem at the weekend too, and proved the point to myself that I am unable to write so abstractly any more. It was so full of cliches and rhyming couplets and fake attempts at insight that there's no way my pride can let me put it here.

Strange isn't it? I'm most proud of what I did when I was least proud of who I was... But at the same time, it's what keeps me writing. If I can do it at my worst, what lies ahead at my best?

No comments