Dear Poet, Welcome to the 21st Century…

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A few months ago, I was pondering the idea of posting my poetry online. For me, poetry has always been a solitary activity. I would scribble rhymes and metaphors onto paper, close my notebook and I would never read it again, never mind letting other people read and comment on it. Then, I decided that if I ever wanted to publish a poetry book (which has always been a dream of mine), then people would ACTUALLY have to read my poetry, right? Now, social media has its advantages and disadvantages. When you post something online, it is there forever, you lose control of where it can be shared or saved. This scared me a little, when I thought about my vulnerable musings being there for the whole world to read.

I lost my way as a writer for a long time. I have spent the last seven years of my twenties living my life, experiencing the good and the bad, I would write from time to time but never took it seriously enough. I do believe I am finally in a place not only to write again, but I actually have something to write about. Poetry has been the way I have expressed myself from the age of five. I’m not exaggerating here. From the moment I started school, even if I couldn’t articulate and write my thoughts down yet, it was there. I would make up stories in my mind and I had a lot of imaginary friends. Once I knew what rhyming was, I quickly started making little poems up and I loved it. I actually remember my first poem I wrote down on paper, I was seven years old.

In March this year, I created a poetry account on Instagram @EmmaJanePoetry, I wrote a poem on paper, typed it up, placed it on a colourful background and clicked upload. I could feel my heart thudding in my chest as I waited. What have I done? What if people don’t like my poetry? What if people are mean and say hurtful things? What if I’m never taken seriously as a poet or a writer because I have posted these words on an Instagram page? My stream of worries disappeared when I saw what happened next. Slowly but surely, people not only started following me and reading my poetry, they commented on my writing ability, told me that my words spoke to them, made them feel something. I had personal messages from people commending my poetry and asking when I was releasing a collection. I’m no Rupi Kaur, I have 387 followers. But I don’t want to be an Instagram influencer, I don’t want fame and fortune. I just want to write poetry and have someone to share it with. I want people to read my work and Instagram is a good place to start.

I’ve just watched a poetry documentary on YouTube about the ongoing debate between academics and young people who disagree on whether the Instagram effect on poetry is a positive or a negative one. It’s what inspired this blog post. I believe that there is space for everyone in the writing world. Commenting on whether poetry is “good” or “bad” is completely subjective. Poetry is personal for the reader. Yes, there are people on Instagram posting two or three line quote-type musings and calling it poetry. Let them. Poetry has never fit into one box. I have read some classical poetry that academics rave about and I thought it was useless drivel. But hey, that’s my opinion.

I think the real problem here is not about the definition of what a poem is, it’s about technique. As a Creative Writing graduate myself, I had to study poetry, learn about technique, different styles, how to create imagery in a poem. I took the time to learn about my craft. I think some writers are angry that young people, with no writing skills, are stringing a few generic phrases together, posting them online and calling themselves “a poet.” I get it, I really do. But like I said, there is space in the writing world for everyone. Spending time ranting about it just makes you an insufferable snob in my opinion. Compare this idea to art. You have your Mona Lisa portrait, that is considered to be one of the greatest portraits in the world alongside a modern piece of art, a few crisp packets hanging on a piece of string. One person may love classical art, so they deem the crisp packet art as rubbish, unworthy and unoriginal. However, some modern artists may respectfully admire the Mona Lisa but prefer unique and unconventional representations of art such as the crisp packets. Poetry is no different. We all like different things.

What I have noticed since I became a part of the Instagram poetry community is there are some extremely talented poetic voices out there, that would have never had their work read without social media. They may not have the confidence to go marching up to a publishing house and say, “publish my poetry please.” By sharing their work, they are receiving a positive response from their readers and this increases their confidence in their writing ability, what’s so wrong with that? Artists and writers want the same thing, to get their work “seen.” We live in a world with social media at the centre, we can choose to embrace it or ignore it, the choice is ours.

Poetry is changing. I know that by posting my poetry online, I am accepting that this is the 21st century and culture is adapting to be part of the digital world. We now have many platforms to share our words with millions of people. Why not utilise and use it to share our art, whatever that may be? We live in a society that likes to put labels on things. It makes us uncomfortable if we don’t categorise or explain something. If someone ever branded me as an InstagramPoet or an InstaPoet, I would politely correct them. Not because I would be ashamed of that label. I would tell them that yes I publish my poetry on Instagram, a social media platform. I also post it on Facebook, my blog and Twitter. But I think of that little girl, with her notebook and pen, writing poems about her imaginary friends and I smile. I always have been and always will be, no matter where I share my poems, simply… a poet.

A Published Poet

We are living in uncertain times at the moment. What better way to unite people than with the power of poetry? One of my writer friends had an idea to create a pandemic poetry collection and raise money for charity. She asked me if I wanted to contribute and of course I said yes.

Blue Rose is a collection of poetry with 21 poems and 14 contributors. All proceeds of the book will be going to Samaritans. It contains the different perspectives of the current global pandemic, words from different writers about the significant time in our history we currently find ourselves in.

It’s an eclectic collection, my poem entitled “Positive Pandemic” is in there and many other talented, poetic voices, positivity shines through the page as you read this fabulous collection, I highly reccommend it. If you would like to purchase a physical copy of the book, you can buy it for £7 on Amazon, alternatively, you can download the Kindle version from Amazon for £3.50. Link below.

https://amzn.to/3dKWBPZ

Darkness & Light Poetry Collection

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For the last few years I have been writing poems about my life.

I always planned to create a poetry collection but it wasn’t until recently I decided to group them together and start editing. Darkness and Light is a collection of
emotionally-driven poems about the struggles and joys I have experienced in my life so far.

I would describe the collection as a raw and honest collection of poetry exploring the emotional complexities of modern life through the lens of a young woman’s experience. The collection is a balance of both an idealistic and realistic view of the world, compared with the ideology of darkness and light. There are themes of love, sex, struggle, heartache, pain, mental illness, relationships and happiness.

At the moment, I am working on the second draft of poems. I currently have 30 poems but plan to add more before I am ready to publish it. I don’t feel like the collection is complete yet, I still feel like I have more to say. A lot of writers hate editing. But I am one of the few writers that loves this part of the process. I am thoroughly enjoying rewriting and organising this collection.

I have thought about whether or not I would like to submit it for publication or self-publish it on Amazon. I think I am leaning more towards the latter. I want my book of poetry to be published, not to make me any money, but to share my poetry and my experiences with the world. I’ll save the dream I have of seeing my book in Waterstones for the novel I will one day write (I just have to complete one first). I will keep the blog updated with the writing and editing process and will hopefully be announcing the publication soon.

A Story To Tell

writingbook

It’s been a long time since I had a story to tell. Writing stories and poems has always been a big part of my life but over the past two years, I’ve been doing it less. I would only feel inspired in small doses and I felt like I didn’t have the confidence to write well any more.

Today I woke up and decided to finally get an idea on paper that has been brewing in my mind for the past couple of months and it felt good. It’s a novel, in the planning stages but at least it’s something. I’ve decided to stop putting pressure on myself with my writing. Instead of giving myself deadlines and expecting too much, I’m just going to write, for fun, like I used to.

I’ve never lost my passion for writing, just my motivation to do it. If I only write my novel when I want to instead of when I feel I have to, I will probably start to enjoy the process again. In time I will get my confidence back and writing will become a daily part of my life again. No matter how much I write, I will always call myself a writer because I believe that writing is not a profession, it’s a lifestyle.

The amazing thing about writing is there is the freedom it brings me. There is no right or wrong, no rules on how something should be. I feel something strongly and I write about it. I create a character in my mind and write their story. I love to explore the beauty and tragedy of life, the questions I want to answer, the places I want to go through my writing.

I’m excited by my latest idea, I have a good feeling that this could be the story I want to tell but if it isn’t then that’s okay, there is plenty of time for me to try different stories and to grow and learn as a writer.

 

Delicate Flower

delicateflower
Delicate, white flower.
Untouched by fear.

Lost in paradise.
The sky is clear.

Floating on the
surface of blue.

Delicate flower
absorbs the view.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

Rain is declining
from misty grey.

Darkness steals
the light of day.

Delicate flower
trapped in storm.

The tide is turning
changing form.

White fades,
no longer pure.

Delicate flower
has to endure.

Fear, loss
tears and pain.

Delicate flower
soaked by rain.

————————

Limp, lifeless
almost dead.

Delicate flower
lifts its head.

Peeping through
the clouded grey.

Is a small beam
of light to guide the way.

Writing Manifesto

writers-block
Staring at the white, hoping for
words. Hoping for salvation.
Wanting to give up. Breathe in
and out and close your eyes – relax.

Stand up and go for a walk, let
the blood flow around your body,
let it feed your mind. Let time
give you the power, let time
give you strength.

Remember that every thought
is important. Just write anything.

Sit back down with freshly peeled eyes.
You can do it. A few words, a phrase,
a fragment of a poem or a
stream of consciousness.

Remember that writing is a muscle.
It needs to be exercised daily.
Overusing the muscle can cause
injury. Not using the muscle
enough  can cause a build up
of negative energy of
‘I can’t do this.’

You can. You can do this.
Just write. Write anything.

Think of your words as reps, your
paragraphs as sets, your pages as
daily workouts. Writing is good
for your health.

 Think of your laptop as
the key to your imagination.
Explore the web for inspiration
but warning: this may cause
procrastination. You might
take a step backwards.

abcdefghijklmnopqrstuvwxyz these
letters are your best friends, use them.
In any form that you like. You are in
control. Let your subconscious mind
open up to the possibilities of a blank page.

When you see the black and white bouncing
off the page – you will feel childlike once more.
Creating places, spaces – whatever your heart
desires. Just write. Don’t even think about it.

Mark Twain once said, Show, don’t tell.
But it is okay to tell all in a first draft.
This brings hope to the senseless mind.
This creates a story before your eyes.

Go back now and cut words, remember
that words don’t bleed. Words don’t have
feelings – so no attachments. Just cut.

Feel proud. Don’t discourage yourself.
Just re-write.. re-write and re-write
some more. Until the words bond with
the image of your imagination.

Atoms Of Light

eiffeltower

Alive with existence.
I can feel the wind on my face.
The atmosphere carries love – like a bird in flight.
Monumental buildings scattered,
tourists alert. Camera’s ready.

The sky, welcoming the darkness.

The tower packed.
Excitement builds up in my stomach – pit.
Eyes absorb the beauty.
Atoms of light emerge.

Like a giant, I peer over the cast of lights.

Sickly taste on my tongue,
heights never usually faze me.

High. Look. Down. Below.
Long way down…

Time in heaven, comes to an end.

Return to, ground.
Feet, safe and happy.

Enough excitement for one day.

Reality

falling

We are learning about different forms in poetry so I thought
I would have a go at it. Hope you like it 🙂

Limitless potential c r a c k i n g under the dark ice.
Reality.

Soaring, en route to the
sea of selection.

Reality.

Determination to

F
A
L
L

with grace. A verdict will
not be chosen. For. Me.

Harsh sphere rotating, rotating.
The clock t i c k i n g.

Waiting, waiting.

A pebble curves – towards the dying

light of
the pale azure sky.

Every so often.

Hope

diminishes

Spirit fading, sombre. Obscure.
Reality.

Clouds p a r t
in my mind.

Reality.

Perplexed by the rain, interrupting the shine.

Face.
Reality.

Unjust and unpredictable.
Reality.