I am not a poet. I write poetry, but I’ve never felt comfortable with the title of poet; it holds a lot of expectations I often can’t fulfil.
I started writing poems in the first year of secondary school. For a while, I secreted them away in the back of my English exercise book, scribbling awkward lines rather than paying attention to what was going on around me. Like with so many things, I found comfort in distraction; from the hushed silences whenever I walked into a classroom, from the upturned noses and sly pinches and kicks under the desk. Words enabled me to block out situations around me which were causing me to become increasingly isolated and introverted.
At first, I tried too hard. I think I wanted to have a status of some sort, and artsy poet didn’t seem like a bad choice.When I finally realised that I had to let the poem build itself and not force it, suddenly I started getting feedback from teachers and friends. Mostly accusations.
“You didn’t write this”
“Who did you copy this off?”
“Why would you write about these things?” (Self harm and bulimia featured a lot in my early poetry).
Again, I am not a poet.
When I write, it isn’t with the intention of creating poetry as such. At first I tried to follow poetry rules and purposely create prose or Haiku. I soon realised that wasn’t my style at all; I wasn’t writing for an audience, I was writing for me, as a form of release. I still don’t write for an audience, and rarely follow rules. If I create a poem in a certain style, it’s almost certainly an accident.
It’s just words. I like them. And labels make me nervous.