Sunday, March 23, 2014

The weird and the wordy

When I was having one of those getting-to-know-you conversations a few months ago, I mistakenly included - in the list of things I'm into and spend my free time on - the phrase "I write poetry". To which my conversational companion at the time replied "Poetry. That's weird." Heavy emphasis on *weird*.

I hastily added something about how I know poetry isn't for everyone and that's why I think it needs to be accessible and people tell me my poetry is fairly accessible blah blah blah like a defensive poet in a socially awkward situation (oh wait, that's not a simile).

My feelings closely resembled those of a person who has been unexpectedly slapped across the mouth. And I haven't been able to stop thinking about it since. (Probably doubly so because this was a person of the male variety whom I already held in some esteem and felt attracted to. How typical.) I resolved anew to stop telling new people about my secret strange life as a poet.

I've always known poetry is not a typical occupation of time or a mainstream form of self expression. Hell, go to any poetry event and you'll hear wryly self-deprecating comments about the kind of people who go to poetry events. But I don't think I've ever had it pointed out to me so plainly that poetry is weird and apparently reserved for the weird.

Today I met a poet friend for lunch. We swapped poems and talked about poetry and the writing of it and it was all wonderfully word-nerdy. Then we went to a poetry reading and listened to more poets talk about poetry and share snippets of their innards with us. I looked around the room and observed the motley collection of humans that had assembled to share in this thing called poetry. And I realised my metaphorically-face-slapping companion was right.

Poetry is weird, and the people that write it are weird, and the ones that like it are weird. They're often quiet and have odd mannerisms and wear closed shoes with no socks. Some are extroverted and quirky and juxtapose the crudest of swear words with reverent references to the many deities of the world and thankfulness for fucking.

These people understand the world in the same ways that I do and they are able to articulate it. They can reach into others and stir them in ways that some may never experience.

So here it is, my coming out:

Hi. I'm Nicole, and I'm a poet.

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