Me, a poet?

I never thought that I would write these words down, but I have to say that I have started to fall in love with writing poetry again.

For such a long time, I suffered a turbulent relationship with poetry, both in terms of writing poems, and also reading them. I enjoyed scribbling down a few halfhearted poems when I was a teenager – one of my many notebooks was designated as the ‘poetry notebook’, and I would jot down a few poems every now and then. I never dreamed of publishing them, or even showing any of my friends or family, for that matter. To my mind, a poet was a very specific job title, and if I wasn’t professionally generating beautiful, poignant, lyrical verses, I certainly wasn’t a poet.

That changed slightly as I got older. When I started the worldbuilding process for my fantasy world of Entros, I penned a few poems to be used within this fictional setting. These poems served as the creative pieces of fictional wordsmiths that resided within Entros. The poems, and indeed the poets, were contextualised within this fictional setting. The poems themselves were certainly not the ‘poetry of Davey Cobb’; but rather the poems of these fictional characters. In essence, in terms of my poetry, I was hiding behind the mask of fiction. To put it another way, it was like I was ghostwriting for myself.

This changed again when I joined a pop-punk band when I was studying for my BA at university. Seen as how I was now writing lyrics for future songs, the poetic energy that I had enjoyed as a teenager became reinvigorated within me. I didn’t do anything with these lyrics, and they still fill old notebooks to this day.

Still, the greatest change that I went through on my poetry journey was when I started studying for my Master’s in Creative Writing. My specialism on this course was Fiction, which essentially meant that I was focused on studying and writing short stories, flash fiction, novels, and novellas. Prose of any sort. I was rather comfortable with this focused form of study, but that ended when I was told that I had to pick a module that differed from my specialism. The choices I was faced with were Scriptwriting, Non-Fiction, and Poetry. I thought long and hard as to which module I would choose but decided upon Poetry because I believed the creative process would be the most different from my specialism. That, of course, is debatable, as scriptwriting may well have taught me a lot more about approaching creative projects in a vastly different way that I then would have been able to take back to my specialism. But poetry had a certain appeal that I couldn’t quite put my finger on. I supposed that I would have liked to inject a little more lyricism and a deeper structure into my prose, and that studying poetry would help me to achieve that.

Embarking on the poetry module, I initially struggled with my research. I felt as if I had dived headfirst into the deep end of a swimming pool, and found myself searching for shallower waters. The main reason for this was that I didn’t know very much about poetry and poets, especially to any sort of professional standard. Still, I persisted with my research and followed the advice of my fellow students. I achieved a decent score for my final project, but nowhere near the good grades that I had been achieving with my specialism modules.

This demoralised me to a tremendous degree. As I completed the rest of my course, I tried to forget about the poetry module that I had failed to achieve a good mark in. If I had directly learned anything in the process of studying poetry, it was not immediately apparent.

Fast forward a year or so, and I signed up to the platform Medium. There, I discovered a lot of poets publishing beautiful, engaging content. I published a few pieces of my own on Medium and received surprisingly positive feedback. I continued to publish poetry and my follower count grew and grew.

This experience bolstered my confidence. I am now writing poems in little notebooks again and publishing them regularly on my Medium account.

I feel as if I’ve rediscovered an old passion, and picked up a new skill in the process.

Long may it continue.

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