“Poetry is the ultimate language ‘glow up’ and it is where I go to try and make sense of the storm”
I started writing about dragons. Not the friendly creatures that let you ride on their backs. I wrote them as wild monsters with blood-stained teeth and fiery tempers. They definitely ate people. Then at uni I felt threatened by what Audre Lorde warned us about, of being “crunched into other people’s fantasies”. It felt urgent, this fight against erasure, so I started writing spoken word poems. And, it’s an overused phrase now, but that process definitely helped me ‘find my voice’.
Ultimately it has always been about ‘the idea’. I’ll be driving and an idea for a poem pops like a bubble exploding all over my current train of thought. But I don’t like forcing it into a poem straight away. I like letting an idea marinate, soak up different angles, pick out the bits I don’t want. We carry so much in our subconscious and I’ve realised it’s important to interrogate why something has lodged itself there. Is this something I want to cultivate or does it need uprooting?
Then I like to read. It can be anything. In fact, I prefer if it’s something completely different to what I am working on. Then there’s a point where my mind feels saturated enough to start writing. It’s usually only a line or two at first. But they let me know where I’m going. I like to stop writing then come back and poke it, to see how fragile it is, to test the layers. Sometimes it just breaks apart, like a spider’s web, and I’ll have to start from scratch.
Editing is where I sand and polish, where I start to see the poem shine. I don’t always end up with the poem I started writing and I love that surprise. But the process can be exhausting. Poetry is the ultimate language ‘glow up’ and it is where I go to try and make sense of the storm; to argue, love, and grieve. Its where I tame the messy, ugly, beautiful, and terrifying with pretty, perplexing ribbon.