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.

Poet Tree in King's Park, Perth, Western Australia.
Poet Tree in King’s Park, Perth, Western Australia.

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.