Poetry has always been the answer for me. Once I discovered words and how putting them together in a certain way can create something beautiful, I was hooked. From the age of five I fell in love with poetry. I entered and won many poetry competitions during my childhood and everywhere I went I would carry a little notebook, so I could jot down the phrases and rhymes that would come to my mind.
After studying poetry for three years on my Creative Writing course I unconsciously took a break from writing it and yesterday I wrote a poem for the first time in months and it felt amazing. It is an indescribable release to pour your heart onto a page and create something to treasure and possibly share with others. Poetry isn’t appreciated in the same way that it once was but if more people opened their minds to it, they would be pleasantly surprised. Poetry is something that I will always write and will always read.
However, I’m still not fond of contemporary poetry and I don’t think I ever will be. The problem with experimental poetry and I often disagreed with my poetry tutor about this, is why fix something that isn’t broken? Poetry has been around for hundreds of years and if a poem does not have a sense of rhythm, passion or emotion then it is just a collection of words on a page isn’t it? Poets are trying to create something new and interesting but what they are doing is moving away from the reason that they started writing poetry in the first place, to free their emotions. Copying words from a newspaper and rearranging them is NOT poetry. A line on a blank page is NOT poetry and selecting random words and scattering them across a page is NOT poetry – this will forever be my opinion.
At the heart of every single poem I have ever written is an emotion and that was never going to change – until I started university. I did learn a lot during my three years at university. I was close minded when I was asked to change my style to fit the syllabus that they were teaching. My poetry tutor told me to detach myself from my poetry, to stop using the word I and to write about nature from an objective point of view. At first I refused and it took me a while to see that what she was really doing was freeing me from my own restrictions.
She wasn’t telling me to stop writing poetry from my heart; she was telling me to break out of the cycle that I had unconsciously put myself into, which was writing poetry for myself. I still use the same passion and emotion I have always used in my poetry and I apply it to every poem I write, whether that is a poem about an autumn day or a personal poem about my relationships but I believe that I now have the ability to now write poetry for others to relate to.
I still believe that you can’t be taught how to write poetry but you can be pointed in the right direction and I have to thank my tutor for being harsh on me about my clichéd rhyming poems that I handed to her in my first year. In my final year, I handed her the drafts of my final portfolio and she was amazed that she was reading the same poet’s work. In the process of changing my poetry to fit the syllabus, I learnt that there are many ways to approach a poem when writing it. I learnt different forms, different line break techniques and different ways to describe an image.
I’m not the same poet that I once was but that’s okay because I have a wider knowledge and deeper understanding of how a poem can work. Poetry is always on my mind. I’m always thinking of new ways to describe something and deep down I’m still the same little girl who carries around a little notebook everywhere she goes.