World Poetry Day 2017
Today (March 21st) marks World Poetry Day. An annual event founded by the UN’s education sector, UNESCO, to bring the world together in honour of the creativity of the human spirit.
I’ve blogged about my love of poetry in the past so when office supplies company, Viking Direct, got in touch and asked if I’d like to create my own poetry-inspired art using some of their stationery products, I was over the moon and replied with an excited ‘yes’!
Inside my parcel, I found a few sheets of paper in grey and pink, some parchment paper, 2 sharpies, 2 paint pens in gold and silver, some half-pearl stickers, a mini canvas and easel and a quill and ink set. “Ooh” I thought to myself, “I’ve never owned a quill before.” As I unboxed my new feathered friend I envisioned penning beautiful sonnets in ‘Ye Olde’ style calligraphy.
I dipped my nib in ink, pressed pen to paper and… nothing happened. No ink flowed from the quill so I tried again: Still nothing. The third attempt sent a burst of ink up my hand, and it was all downhill from there…
After proving what an uncultured clutz I am, I reassured myself; “Poetry doesn’t have to be all about the written word” and went about using the contents of my box to create mini-tribute to spoken word poetry instead.
My Favourite Poet: Andrea Gibson
Today I want to celebrate World Poetry Day by sharing my favourite spoken word poet with you, Andrea Gibson. Andrea’s work focuses on politics, feminism, LGBT struggles, and love. She also talks a lot about mental health, and this is where I identify most with her poetry.
When I try to describe my anxiety it comes out in jumbled words and “Argh!”s. Andrea Gibson vocalises it with a powerful truth. Just hearing it framed that way somehow puts anxiety and depression back in it’s place, if only for half hour or so. Art like this is so important to humanity. It quite literally saves lives and you can see evidence of this in the comments section of most of her videos.
One of her most popular pieces is a passionate love poem called ‘How it Ends’ and It’s the piece I took inspiration from for this campaign.
You know how a lot of love poetry is kinda corny? Well, not this. There is so much joy in this short piece, it fills me with happy whenever I hear it:
“Lover, you will never lose me to the wind, you were the lightening that made me fill my chest with candles, you are the thunder clapping to the poem that nobody else wants to hear”.
I’ve returned to this line a few times over the years and each time have a slightly different understanding of it. It’s so beautiful.
You can watch the rest of ‘How it Ends’ below. (Andrea’s poetry contains naughty swear words 😮 . You’ve been warned):
Now, in hindsight, I should have written the quote in something other than Sharpie. It kinda looks like a child scrawled it, but it’s too late. It’s done! Maybe by the time World Poetry Day 2018 comes around, I’ll have learned to use that quill and can give Andrea Gibsons words a proper tribute -_-
On loving yourself – Boomerang Valentine: “Of all the violence I have known in my life, I have not known violence like the way I have spoken to myself.”
An insanely powerful piece on anxiety, depression, and suicide – The Madness Vase: “You are not weak just because your heart feels so heavy. I have never met a heavy heart that wasn’t a phone booth with a red cape inside”.
On panic disorder – Panic Button Collector: “I think we are all part fight the flight, part “Run for your life”, part “please like like like like like me”, Part “Can’t breathe”, Part scared to say you’re scared, Part say it anyway. You panic button collector. You clock of beautiful ticks. You run out the door if you need to.”
And finally, this is a huge middle finger to the pig-men who cat-call women in the street. Specifically, Andrea’s girlfriend, but as someone who was often belittled in this way in my teens and was too shy to respond – and who even went as far as to cover up more in case it attracted unwanted attention – I hope other young women hear this poem and find it empowering – To Men Catcalling My Girlfriend as I’m Walking Beside Her.
Please let me know your favourite poems and poets in the comments below! Thanks for reading 🙂
Thank you to Viking Direct for a fun campaign (and be sure to head over to their blog to read more on the importance of writing poetry), and thank you to Andrea Gibson for being a beautiful human being (and for liking my tweet just now. I fangirled hard).