It’s become apparent that I follow a lot of Americans on Twitter as frequent references to National Poetry Month have popped up in my feed. At the same time Mslexia has been running a series of poetry prompts for NaPoWriMo, and I felt obliged to investigate all these poetry shenanigans. I wasn’t planning on doing NaPoWriMo, but the prompts tempted me and I suddenly found myself several poems in.
Poetry is where I started as a writer, penning my first halting rhymes at about age 7. My inspirations were my paternal grandmother, who used to read poems in lieu of bedtime stories, and my maternal grandfather, who often wrote poems for me. The former encouraged me to read poetry regularly, while the latter inspired me to write my own. Although my grandfather only ever shared his humorous poems with us, I know that he used poetry as an outlet for strong emotion – sadly we only ever found one fragment of this poetry after his death, but it was enough to show the depth of feeling so often hidden by his quick wit.
I continued writing poetry through my teenage years, progressing from cute rhymes to teenage angst as I grew older. For me, as for my grandfather, my poems became very personal, and I gradually stopped showing them to people. Then came the university years and, sad to say, my English Literature degree went a long way toward putting me off poetry – I blame Wordsworth.
Since then, poetry has been an intermittent guest in my house, enjoyed but rarely practised, sidelined in favour of it’s heftier brother, prose. Hopefully this month will be a chance to play with words, and reconnect with my old friend.