Hello again you beautiful people. My goodness it has been a while. I do still exist and all is well on my side of the screen; my apologies for being absent from this blog for a year. I became full time at Danny's Dream and also completed the final stage of training as a Local Preacher, so I am now fully accredited. As you can imagine, I have not had a huge amount of time on my hands.
I have thus not been able to do much writing or blogging, though I have been reading a lot. In other news, I am now on Twitter as @LizJackface. Not much else has changed for me, though I know some of my fellow bloggers have had a much more eventful year.
What I wanted to talk about today is poetry. It is one of those things that is like Marmite; most people either love it or hate it. Many of us were force fed the stuff at school (poetry, not Marmite) and were expected to dissect it in a similar fashion to biology lessons with frogs and pigs eyes. It is understandable why this experience left many people detesting poetry.
Other people just don't like poetry. This is fair enough.
I would like to talk about my experiences with poetry and why I feel it can be a highly therapeutic, expressive and releasing art form to engage in, both as a producer and a consumer.
I first came across poetry from children's poetry collection books that were bought for me. One of the first favourite poems that I remember was called 'The Friendly Cinnamon Bun' by Russell Hoban. What I liked about this poem was the description and personification of the bun - I found myself both hungry and charmed by this character. The words make you lick your lips and imagine sinking your teeth into the sticky icing. I also felt a little for the friendly bun, and felt a weird sense of betrayal when he gets eaten by the protagonist. It was a short, simple story told beautifully by concise, well thought out words. I have always been a slow and impatient reader, you see. I resent wading through a load of words unless they really mean something. In that respect, poetry hit the spot.
Another poem I remember from primary school was 'Chocolate Cake' by Michel Rosen. This poem was written to be performed. One of our teachers, Mr Brown, did a fantastic performance of it with all the voices and actions and tension, and he used to perform it in assemblies. It was everyone's favourite and we often requested it. By the time I left primary school I could almost recite every word. Again, one of the things I loved about the poem was the vivid description of the yummy cake (I did like my food...) and the way the story was told so imaginatively. Here is a link to Michel Rosen himself performing the piece.
I used this poem recently in a service for my children's address during lent - it makes a great analogy for temptation.
I remember a writing exercise in primary school where we had to personify the wind; we had to choose a 'character' for the wind and write about it as though it were that character. This exercise was so much fun to do. I already loved creating characters and descriptive writing and I had so much fun writing about the wind as this mischievous character.
I could tell you my life story in the context of poetry. I realise I'm beginning to go down that line. Needless to say, poetry has always been very important to me. As I became more inquisitive and interested in philosophy, I began to write this into a kind of expressive poetry.
I discovered along the way that the beauty of poetry is that it isn't all about rhymes. It's about how you feel. It's about the patterns of words you can't express in prose, sensibly or formally. I think poetry was really unlocked for me when I started to use it as an expressive tool - when I began to pour my inner feelings into it. I won two competitions as a kid, one of which was published in one of those awful anthologies that only family members ever saw.
What made these poems so special and so powerful was that I wrote about the feelings I couldn't talk about normally. It became therapeutic, an outlet for the things I couldn't say.
I've never been one to go by the rules in poetry. This has perhaps stunted my competition career, but quite frankly I don't care. I don't write poetry for other people anymore. At the most, it helps me to convey to others how I feel. I recently (in the last few years) entered a poem to Writers' Forum magazine and asked for a critique as well. Of course, I did not win, and the feedback would have been useful. But I decided there and then that that was the last poem I would likely enter. My feelings aren't there to be marked.
So, when the minister of our church announced a poetry competition he was running for the local community, I was both excited and terrified. I was excited and wanted to be involved in some way, but nervous because of my decision about competitions. I was relieved when he asked me to be a judge, as a Creative Writing graduate, because I can still be involved and part of this exciting venture.
I'm very excited to see the entries we get. My perspective as a judge will not be based in structure and form but in language and expression. The competition is for those in the Newland area in Hull and closes July 31st 2014. I will let you know how it all goes.
What are your thoughts and views on poetry? Do you like it or loathe it?
What were your first encounters with poetry like?
Thanks for reading. It's good to be back.