How Did You Get Started With Poetry?

Like every morning I listened to the news while resigning myself to another day in the office. I knew at least part of me was looking for a reason to stay indoors; to not face this messed up, corrupt world. A truth my logical mind shut down as soon as these irrational anxieties showed.

At some point, something had to shock me back to life. If that hadn’t happened, you’d never know I existed. Those who find a way beyond this numbness have tales to share. Usually of an event, one that shoved them outside of themselves long enough to gasp and remember. Mine begins one dreary morning with me, as always, listening to the news.

If I had any feelings left, they tasted of disgust; at the world, myself, greed and fear. It had been so long since I’d cried for anything other than self-pity.

We are not made for that. We are here to care, but I’d forgotten how.

The report ended, the next began. My head was tilted on its side, the way people do when they think, when my eyes caught the clock. Those tiny hands had force. The old routine kicked in.

Not for a while did I notice the oddness of having headphones in and no radio on. Without music, bus commutes like this made me nauseous. It seemed I’d got a free pass and, terrifyingly? I knew why.

On the commute, before work, through my lunch break and between bouts of the harshest criticism my logical mind could command I crafted, edited, threw out, recovered, re-wrote and hated and loved, denied then accepted my first poem, re-telling that news report; Misadventure.

“You’ll never guess,” I said with a smile, “I wrote poem today! Here, I’ll read it for you…’” 

Without reflection I’d already jumped. Free-falling unprepared as words, so carefully crafted, caught and pulled in becoming sound. Too proud to stop this performance, it could only be seen through with everything I had.

In truth, I felt ridiculous. While straining back onto the pillars of composure the tiny audience to this exposure, my mum and dad, stopped me. Not with words, nor sound. It’s just… it’s hard to ignore a parent’s tears. Like a punch in the face it was awkward, but raw and honest too.

Seemingly from nowhere I’d glimpsed at what’s possible with word and sound and that is how I got started with poetry.

pablo picasso

An interest and urgency for Spoken Word and Performance Poetry has been… a surprise! Through opting for science and being the first in my family to go from school to uni, it seemed I’d become fully sensible and closed the door on frivolous activities like art! Above I’m performing to an audience of hundreds while other times I incorporate poems and stories for small groups with space for reflection.