For my workshop in Lisbon, I am supposed to write a 500 words text about, what poetry means to me. That's, what I wrote...of course it is too long: 568 words :-( I need to practise Haikus more!
Poetry for me is: putting the essence of a thought, a feeling, an experience, an impression into words, as beautiful, funny and deep as possible, as true as possible. To catch truth in midair with pen and paper. It always has to do with the Aha-effect of: yeah, right, that’s exactly how it was. Recognition of resemblance.
To write poetry is to breathe and also to live, even if this may sound self-important or vain. Maybe this is even true for writing and me in general. I started it when I was 12 years old and I never stopped. I wrote my first poems, when I was fifteen and founded a poetry magazine at school. We met weekly and were poets. They all loved my poems, so I felt happy, which wasn’t my usual feeling as a teenager. It elated me, to have something to say. My best experience was, when a german teacher asked me, if he could use one of my poems to present it to his class. Gosh, I felt like: the nobel prize was so close, I could already smell it.
Poetry is such a beautiful form. Poems do come very naturally to me. I sit down and write into my diary, every day, and often a poem will come out of what I write. I follow a string of pearly thoughts and, all of a sudden, a sentence sounds like music, and I know, I am on to something. I think you must be willing to dive pretty deep to write good poems. You can not remain at the surface at all. I need to write poems to make life, this under water life of feelings and soul and love and death accessible to my understanding. So in a way, I feel related to poets like Bishop, Oliver or Sexton, and in a different way, or maybe it is the same, I feel related to Zen Buddhist monks, who write Haikus to describe life. Wisdom captured in a few lines (well, compared to this, most of my poems are rather talkative).
I am a huge defender of stillness and loneliness. So as a poet, I bridge the gap between stillness and communication. You can not talk under water, but the truths, you find down there, can be communicated in as few words as possible. What I write my poems about is mostly, what I find in stillness.
Over the past year, poetry has become more and more important for me. It has been the teller of the story of my life. In this year, I reunited with my mom, and than she died. A very spiritual experience, very painful, but also one of the most beautiful years of my life. Sitting with my dying mother was beautiful.
I also lost a friend, somebody I thought, was a soulmate. I was wrong. To trust somebody and be completely rejected, was beautiful too (no, actually it sucked). And that’s what I wrote about.
I discovered yoga during that year. And I think, yoga and poetry became my means to find my sanity, keep and maybe even express it.
Life is wild and tends to entangle us in many different chaotic directions and demands, like a ball of wool untangling and taking everything into its chaos. Poetry helps me to catch the thread, and rewind the ball of wool into a structure, you can actually use for your creativity.
© Susanne Becker