As a reader, I've always liked poetry. Liked. Not loved. No poet was ever able to make me feel the way Lucy M Montgomery made me feel. No poet ever made me feel the way I felt when I read Jane Austen or Lewis Carrol or Louisa May Alcott. Not even Wordsworth or Keats could make me lose myself the way Hemmingway or Anita Shreve or Mark Twain can. My favourite bloggers write in a way that makes me weep at times, Jenn, Averil(I'm sorry, I can't link this one, it's on hiatus. Sob) and Eden. I read their words and I want, I wish to write like that.
Poetry was always an intellectual exercise for me - exactly the thing it ought not be. It was a source of frustration. I could memorise a piece of poetry, but it never moved me the way an amazing work of prose could.
I breezed through English in school, loved every second of it. Except poetry. I am completely, utterly unable to write it. It just isn't there, I could not be more blocked. The desire is there. The desire to write it, read it, most of all to just get it. Really, truly be moved by it. The way that some students slog it out to get through Shakespeare and Orwell, I went through hell in poetry. The way a Year 10 student vows never again to bother with Shakespeare, I resented my poetry modules.
I was frustrated by the 'rules of poetry'. I didn't want to think about form and meter, or iambic pentameter. I just wanted words, just words meaningful and beautiful. Words that stood alone, not because they followed a set ryhthm.
I also couldn't stand being read to. I've found, my entire life that being read to is one of the most irritating, useless exercises for me. I can't take a thing in. I have to look at the words myself to take them in. I've hated audiobooks (the Hobbit at school in Grade 6 was awful. I had to get the book and read it before I could make sense of it) for as long as I can remember.
Until now. It turns out, to love one, I had to embrace the other. Poetry, when spoken to me, can make my skin tingle.
This is my favourite at the moment. I can't stop listening to it. I swear. Goosebumps and tears. Every.Single.Time.
But recently, someone on Facebook linked to a Spoken Word Poet performing at TED. Now, I'm a sucker for most things coming out of TED. But this. THIS spoke to me (excuse the pun). She got under my skin and I found myself trawling through the internet (Thank You You Tube - I've never loved you more) for everything by her. I love almost everything she's written.
She and another Spoken Word Poet started an organisation called Project-Voice which goes into schools and teaches Spoken Word Poetry, and makes it so much more accessible than it was when I went to school. (Funny Story. Read about the coincidences with Sarah Kay and Phil Kaye).
This isn't the poem she recites at TED. I'm saving that one. It's amazing. But I love this.
THIS. This is poetry that speaks to me. This is poetry I wish I could be a part of. What I'd give to find something like this happening in Brisbane. Oh. And to not have this whole please-don't-look-at-me thing happening.
I'm utterly in love.