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05.09.21: The Translation of Silence
This week I discuss the importance of poetry to me as an individual, and how it plays a crucial role in how I see myself.
A few months ago I discussed the role of poetry in our society, but I’ve recently been thinking about why poetry is so important to me, personally.
Thinking about this subject led to a new poem, which will be included in an upcoming chapbook for 2022:
what is poetry
It’s a short piece, but those four words - the translation of silence - have been playing on my mind for the past week. In that previous newsletter, I spoke about how I wasn’t sure there was much catharsis in the process of writing - that writing could be its own kind of trauma.
In the time since then, I think I’ve begun to change my mind. The last six months have been difficult, long and full of emotion, and poetry has played a crucial role in my ability to endure, to overcome.
I’ve always felt that I write poetry for other people, that my job as a poet was to unpack complex emotions using accessible language - to help others find a catharsis through shared experience and understanding. I still believe this to be true, but I think I may have underestimated the ability of poetry to help me deal with my own emotions, my own mental health.
And I think this realisation of the importance of poetry in my own life has led me to an understanding of what poetry really is.
It is the decryption of silence, the translation of those thoughts and feelings we do not - or cannot - bring to life. It’s not just that we may not have the words, it’s that we may not understand what it is we’re feeling. That our emotions can be so complex, so overwhelming, that we simply cannot make sense of them on our own. Poetry affords us an opportunity to unpack and decode these feelings, to use language as a key to unlock deeper parts of ourselves.
I think this is true not only for the reader, but for the poet. I think the written word has allowed me to gain a deeper understanding of myself, and how my experiences have shaped the person I have become. And for that, I will be eternally grateful.
My new book, Murmuration, is released worldwide in exactly one month. You can pre-order it now from your preferred retailer, or visit my website for a list by country. You can also grab a special pre-order bonus, as well as getting your copy delivered on the release date.