Thursday, 4 October 2018

National Poetry Day 2018

It wouldn't be right if I didn't say a quick few words about National Poetry Day. I know that there is pretty much a day for everything, but it surprises and delights me that there is a day set aside simply to celebrate poetry.

I should confess right now that I have not actually written a poem today. I haven't written any poetry in a while, come to that, and yet I still consider myself a poet, even now that my writing habits are becoming more sparse and any poems from me are few and far between. Poetry remains a very important art form to me, and it always pulls me back in, one way or another. Hopefully it won't be long before I am in the right mindset and have the free time and inspiration to start writing again. At a time like this, poems should come easily. It's October, a great month that begins with my birthday and ends with Halloween, with the changing of leaves and the chilling of the air in between. Autumn is always such a wonderful time for writing poetry in a way that the other seasons aren't.

But I digress. Poetry is a medium of endless possibilities, and I feel like there is so much that I have yet to explore. Luckily, I have a lifetime to experiment and play around with the written word, and I have a lifetime to pour my petty little feelings out onto the page and throw myself a little pity party whenever I want to. Poetry won't judge me for feeling jealousy or guilt or lust or anger. It won't tell me that I'm wrong because, with poetry, anything goes. That's both what amazes me and scares me about poetry: there is no wrong way to do it. Yes, everyone has their own opinions about poetry and what 'real poetry' is, but ultimately, there are very few rules. It's like art. If you visit a modern art museum with a cynic who doesn't understand the nuances of art, they will point out everything that they believe is wrong with the pieces, and they will always always ALWAYS use the phrase, 'I could do that'. But, no matter what they think, it's still art, whether or not it resembles it. It still means something to someone, and there is an artist behind the piece who put time and effort into it so that like-minded people would see it and understand. The same is true of poetry: a poetry cynic can read a poem and claim that it's nonsense and that they could do better, but that doesn't detract from the fact that it is still a poem. There are poems that exist that I don't think should count as poems, but does that make them any less poetic? No, because those poems mean something to someone, and art is important.

On the subject of art being important, this probably links back to the main reason that, were I ever to pursue teaching, I would be determined to run a creative writing club or to teach poetry in my classes. Writing poetry is such a therapeutic way of talking out your own feelings, regardless of whether your feelings are logical or irrational. I've written poem after poem about jealousy, an emotion that I hate to feel, in an attempt to figure out why I felt the way that I did, and although sometimes I couldn't find the source, just writing down how I was feeling in a creative way helped me rationalise the emotions. The feelings took on a form. I gave them life and a space to prove themselves. Poetry is such a powerful way to express emotions that you've had bottled up inside that I'd encourage anybody to try it, even if it makes you feel silly or you're not all that creative or you've never written a poem before in your life. Once you find the right words, your poem will not sound silly. Poetry can be as artsy and creative or as straightforward and blunt as you would like. If you have never written a poem in your life, it's never too late to start. Maybe it would be a good idea to encourage children in my care (again, IF I were to ever pursue a career in teaching) to express themselves through poetry, because poetry reminds us that our feelings are valid and that even the most negative feelings can be turned into something beautiful.

Okay, that's enough for now. Happy National Poetry Day, everyone! I'm going to read some poetry before bed tonight, and I might see if I can write a little rhyming something in recognition of today. Hopefully, inspiration will strike right before I go to sleep like it used to, forcing me to roll out of bed and write it down. Good times.
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