Lately, I’ve been pondering the relevance of poetry to modern life. Not for any reason other than I’ve started to write my first novel.
To help me on my quest, I devoured prolific writer Barbara Samuel’s “Writing Romantic Fiction”. Ever a diligent student, I have been following Barbara’s advice with the enthusiasm of the newly converted.
“Read Poetry – aloud” Barbara writes as part of writer training. I promptly scoured my local charity shop for an Anthology of Verse. I picked one up cheaply and lugged it home with another 20 books I just had to buy.
My best efforts were not good enough I’m afraid. Disengaged and disappointed, the Anthology of Verse had me feeling less of a reader and more of an imposter in the world of words. I was letting Barbara down.
Steeling my shoulders, I embarked upon Plan B and before I could poke a stick at the horrid Anthology, a deluge of contemporary, literary poems were delivered conveniently and efficiently straight to my mailbox. It was a hit and miss affair, sometimes there was delight but more often than not, I was left feeling very little of anything.
I hit the shops and bought myself a new notebook (when in doubt, buy stationery). That’s better I thought, flicking the elastic on the outside of the book. I will fill this book with poetry which moves me.
Time moved along and my notebook was left empty and I was left feeling like a fraud. What kind of writer eschews poetry for Instagram?
In the land of IG, I discovered poetry bursting with richness and emotion and lucidity that had me gasping for breath. My notebook started to fill rapidly and effortlessly and I fell in love with lines like
“I was stuck between your eyes
and soul, making love to your mind.”
I was hooked, the poets of Instagram filled my notebook and I am moved every day by verse that touches the intimate places of my mind. Relationships (fictional and real, let’s not forget I’m writing a love story) are reflected in the bitter sweet lines that appear in my feed, infusing me with awe and wonder.
I have found poetry and you are right, Barbara, it is a mighty tool to grow a writer.