I’m back! I know it’s been ages. I’m terrible. And busy. Like, soooo busy. But, I managed to find time to knock this bad boy together.
So, today I want to talk about poetry.
Do you ever read a passage in a book and instantly imagine it brought to life in a hazy, Baz Luhrmannesque kind of beauty that you know would reduce you to tears just looking at it? Or listened to a song and thought you belonged in the music video? (You’re lying to yourself if you say no – everyone imagined themselves in Taylor Swift’s music video for Love Story).
Well, that’s how I’ve begun to feel with poetry.
Last Fringe, I went to the Loud Poets’ show at the Scottish Storytelling Centre with a friend. A friend of ours used to perform with them regularly and it sounded like a sophisicated way to spend an evening at the festival. At the time, I wasn’t much for poetry. I mean, sure, in theory it was great and beautiful and, well, poetic. But in practice I rarely read or watched anything that wasn’t Shakespearean or woven into a film or tv show.
The Loud Poets’ Fringe show changed that for me. I was awestruck by the beauty and fun and sadness their words were eliciting from me. It’s hard to verbalise the experience – you really had to have been there. My love for poetry has since been reingited and I thought I’d share some highlights from my recent readings and watchings.
Slam poetry is new to me, but I have fallen in love with the rhythmic, raw passion it is so often performed with and the realness of the words. It’s one thing to read a poem, but to feel those words seeping into your skin and crawling up your neck with the goosebumps they produce? That’s something special.
Speaking of special, my first slam poet recommendation has to be Neil Hilborn. He has lived with mental illness since childhood and discusses his experiences openly and with an uncomfortable honesty that you can’t help but enjoy.
I went to his Fringe show this year at the New Town Theatre on George Street. We sat in the front row (which after he reduced me to tears for the third time I was starting to regret). He’s an incredibly funny, self-depricating, hugely talented man. He tells stories as easily as breathing and was born to share his words with the world.
This is the poem that convinced me to follow his work and the one that emotionally broke me at the end of his set. I hope you enjoy “Joey” as much as I did.
Savannah Brown is my next recommendation. This poem was my first introduction to her, and I went on to buy her book and artwork created from this poem.
This poem has been shared across social media a number of times. In my opinion, people need to watch it now more than ever. This poem is something of a battlecry for women everywhere who have been marginalised, categorised, appraised, disregarded, sexualised, trivialised and minimalised.
She’s soft and bold and her words reflect many of my experiences growing up. Give her a watch, you won’t be disappointed.
Next up has to be Sabrina Benaim. Yes, there does seem to be a theme here in mental health chat (and the fact that Button Poetry is the source – a channel I’d urge you to follow for more great content), but I swear you need to watch this one.
It’s real and it’s painful and she gives you a real insight into the fear and frustration that comes with depression. Her other work is fantastic, but personally this one pushed a button and it has stayed with me ever since I first saw it.
I first came across Iona Lee through BBC The Social’s Facebook page, watching her perform this particular poem.
It might be her Scottish accent that endears me to her words so much, but she is a wonderful storyteller and the rhythmic cadences are almost hypnotising.
Some written poetry now, but just as worthy of your time as the videos above. You’ll likely have heard of Rupi Kaur by now. Having hit Number 1 on the New York Times Bestsellers List and become an Instagram superstar, her words are world-famous.
sweetloves it turns out amazon.com is having a little bit of a sale! they’ll give you 25% off any any book from now till midnight tmw (dec 16) if you enter promocode “bookdeal25” at checkout. I want to thank you honeys for supporting my he(art). so much love given but my hands are too small to hold onto it all so i’m letting it wash over me. waves of it. cleansing me. it is helping me stay rooted to the ground. thankyou. I am honoured that what I feel helps you feel and we are connected through this circle of vulnerability. (captured by @prabhkaur1)
I bought her first book, Milk and Honey, a few months back and putting into words how her words made me feel is incredibly difficult. She writes about growing up, falling in and out of love, loss, feminism and her experiences of abuse.
While I can’t relate to everything she has lived through and written about, many of her poems really moved me to tears. Her words are magical and I truly appreciate her craft. I’m currently waiting for my copy of her second book, The Sun and her Flowers, to arrive so I’ll be sure to update you when I’ve had a chance to read it!
So, there you have it. There are many more poets I’ve found and fallen in love with, but this post was getting to be a hefty length so I’ll save them for a Part 2 in the (hopefully) not too distant future.
Are you a fan of poetry in some form or another? Do you have any recommendations for me? Share them in the comments below!