What is poetry for?

Well, for the poet it is probably for adjusting the sorrow. Yesterday, on my facebook newsfeed I saw a video – a short video of a few seconds which played automatically as I scrolled. The video showed two guys throwing a dog from a bridge. As the dog landed on the ground beneath I felt something inside me break. How can one live in such a world? I have no idea.

I have always liked this quote from Dylan Thomas –

“This poem has been called obscure. I refuse to believe that it is obscurer than pity, violence, or suffering. But being a poem, not a lifetime, it is more compressed.”

So, I will continue to write poems.

I finished far fewer poems in 2015 than I would have liked. Time did not permit. I barely submitted and when I did I aimed high. I received rejections from ‘Poetry Magazine’, ‘Ambit’ and ‘Plume’. However, I did receive acceptances from ‘Zoomorphic Magazine’ , ‘Ofi Press Magazine’ and ‘Headstuff’ – a total of 7 poems published, one of which was nominated for a Pushcart Prize. You can read my poem ‘Nettle’ at ‘Ofi Press Magazine’ and many thanks to Jack Little for publishing and nominating it.

I have never entered any single-poem poetry competitions. In 2016 I will try to enter at least a couple. Having read winners of recent competitions I am not convinced that I have any chance of being successful. The ongoing plagiarism controversy reinforces this.

I came across Frances Horovitz’s poem ‘Rain – Birdoswald’ while reading ‘Earth Shattering’ (Bloodaxe) and her ‘Collected Poems’ was my favourite read of 2015. I’m looking forward to finding new poets to read in 2016 and send everyone all best wishes (and that includes the animals).


4 thoughts on “What is poetry for?

  1. Thanks for your post, Gillian. When I read the first few lines about the video you saw, I almost stopped reading – but then I came back to the Dylan quote and your resolve to keep writing poems. Just yesterday I read this post … which also helps me to “keep at it” – https://www.brainpickings.org/2015/12/30/rebecca-solnit-hope-in-the-dark/?utm_content=buffer4a66d&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_campaign=buffer

    Have a good 2016. And yes, best wishes to all – including the non-human animals.

    Elly x

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