I’m not writing poetry for worms

Before these guys and girls see my work, I want to make sure human beings have heard it...

It dawned on me a few weeks ago that most of the poetry I have ever written is sitting on hard drives and in notebooks all over the place. It will never be seen or heard or read.

Why did I write it?

Why do you write poetry?

As an arts and culture journalist I have come across many poets who have never shared their work, who think poetry is too geeky, too embarrassing to show the world or who maybe think their work is not yet good enough.

As poets, why are we content to let our voices recede into the silent spaces of the world? We seem to not be driven by the same impetus that pushes musicians onto stages and actors to risk life, limb and ego, pulling off dramatics for our TV screens.

I know, writing is cathartic and sometimes we write for healing and for sanity. But most of our writing is intended to be read one day. Right? Poets write to be heard. We have something to say and we want the world to hear it. Except it seems we don’t want it badly enough.

By the time I was twenty, I had penned over 600 poems, all nicely handwritten in neatly covered exercise books. When I read them now, I shudder at how bad most of them are, but I am more horrified by the fact that this trend will continue. That I will write a tonne of stuff that will never be read or heard.

So my commitment to my poetry, today, February 6th, 2020, is that I will work as hard to promote it as I do to produce it.

I am not writing poetry for worms. If the worms will chew on anything, it will be the leftovers of the word feast I have been put here to prepare.

And you? Who are you writing your poetry for? How will you give them a chance to see it?



PICTURE: Francesco Ungaro

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