On the importance of bad poetry

I am a terrible poet. This is what I told myself when I was 5 years old and wrote a modest stanza about snails and their slimy trails, and it’s what I tell myself now at 24 and at MA level, crafting austere Plathian images.

It’s difficult to allow your creativity to flow when you’ve spent several years of your adult life studying dead writers whose talent was so great you can’t even believe those people and their brilliant brains existed. On the bright side I’ve finished my MA now and outside of work my free time (at least for now) is free for me to write for myself. When something bad happens to me, an important part of my personal healing process is to pen at least one dodgy poem about it. And the more I write poems, the less dodgy I think they are. It’s different to journalling somehow; I can never keep up journalling beyond a couple of months because the things I write in journals are so banal. That’s what my Twitter is for. Poems are more of a time capsule for particularly potent moments in life. When I look back on journals, I feel a certain disconnectedness from the way I felt at the time. When I look back on my poems, I know exactly what thought processes and feelings went into the form, the syntax, the imagery, etc.

Another part of healing, of course, is for something good to come out of a bad event. To create something that at least in part makes the ache of it worthwhile.

If you’re self-conscious about your writing, I urge you to still write. Even if it’s just for yourself. Or through whatever medium that enriches your life; it’s been many months since I’ve drawn or painted at length, and it’s something missing that I’m actually fairly good at. One of my resolutions this year is to use my creative skills more, even if it’s only for my own enjoyment. Even if some days it’s only a small doodle, or a written line.

— Laura

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