When I was younger, I used to write poetry a lot. In comparison to other formats of literature, poetry is the easiest for both writing and reading. Granted, my poems don’t even rhyme or have a formal structure in any way, which is why I probably loved it. I liked the freedom of creativity without any of that bothersome things like plot development or compelling characters. I just need to feel things and vomit it all on paper. A few lines that will pack a punch so it’ll leave a lasting impression.
Poetry was also the first medium in which I allowed myself to have an audience. I really am my worst critic and I used to delete whole works out of frustration. A few years ago, while studying for my degree, I got involved with an online poetry group on Facebook. I say “online”, and sure we would upload our poems on the Facebook page, but we all knew each other because most of us went to the same university. Also, I was an English major so it wasn’t hard to find friends who were interested in writing poems, too. The group, kata.mata, was the first time where I shared my work and let somebody else comment on it. Huge step for me and I’m thankful for that. It allowed me to have confidence in my writing.
We went a step ahead. We held events where we performed readings and had meet ups. My personal best with them was when we were invited to read our works at one of Sharon Bakar’s “Readings@Seksan” events in 2009. If you’re familiar with Sharon Bakar or Reading@Seksan, you know it’s a big deal and an opportunity to rub shoulders with the big names in the local literature scene. Amir Muhammad had a copy of our zine!
But alas, all good things come to an end. I had slowly weaned off writing poetry and decided to quit altogether. For me, I couldn’t write if I wasn’t feeling the extremes of emotions. Basically, I needed to be devastated to write well, so you can figure that writing poems is not great for my sanity and well-being.
My stint in poetry still has an effect in my writing. I love using metaphors, ambiguous sentences and repetitive themes.
Happy writing and reading poetry!