Poets that live in my head…

I have a love/hate relationship with poetry. Poetry that doesn’t speak to me is really hard for me to sit through, I tend to feel like I’m in physical pain trying to listen to it. Poetry where I feel like singing some Roberta Flack via the Fugees (get it?) to the poet, that’s where the love/hate is clearest – love because I find it amazing when someone is able to remind you of a very specific moment/feeling you had with a few words, hate because I no longer write (as much as I should).

So a look at 3 poets/pieces who/that speak to (something in) me in ways that are unbearable:

1. Warsan Shire poem eleven,  for women who are ‘difficult’ to love

One of my friends shared the piece with me after I quoted a line from Richie Spices “Serious Woman” to her (“serious girl… the way you roll not everyone is gonna like your style”). When I read it, I took a few moments of silence and proceeded to copy and paste the link into every gchat window I had open. The last 3 lines encapsulate the meaning for me : “you are terrifying/and strange and beautiful/ something not everyone knows how to love.” Warsan Shire consistently manages to make me feel simultaneously naked and unalone when I read her work. I’m very excited about the fact that I’ll be seeing her live in January at the IFreeCan Launch.

2. Kamau BrathwaiteMother Poem

I remember being vaguely aware of Brathwaite when he was slated to perform at Carifesta 2000, but I paid very little attention to his presence. When I had to study him in 6th form, I found him difficult to get into but once I got there my world changed! Cherries:
a woman loves a man
she will lick the sweat from his forehead
she will walk miles to see him
and wait for him by the corner…
…she will bear his children proudly
but when he turns sour on her
scowling. wiping her face with his anger
stiffening his spine beside her on the bed
not caressing her w/ eye-
lash or word or jook
of the elbow. she will curdle like milk
or Hex where he speaks about Barbados and by extension the Caribbean…
bays of her body have been turned into money
the grass ploughed up & fed into mortar of houses
for master for mister for massa for mortal baas
her sands are now owned by the minister midas
& have been burned into careful gold brochures
the leaves of her trees are now printed in amsterdam
her breadfruit is sold into foreigner factories
& returned to her sons wrapped up in tins to be eaten as chips
& the lips of the bankers smile as they rip her children to debts
Poetry as political commentary? Can we say love?!?!?!
As with my links, I have to throw in one real random one to throw you off – I can’t have you thinking I’m predictable or something. I came into contact with this piece in a first year intro to English Lit course. As one who is entirely too familiar with long distance friendships, relationships, ships in general, this one resonated with me – not because this is actually how being separated from someone you love works, but the theory of it makes sense and it’d be nice if it was real. My favourite verse:

Our two souls therefore, which are one,
Though I must go, endure not yet
A breach, but an expansion,
Like gold to aery thinness beat.

John Donne had plenty lyrics, talking bout because he and his wife are one person when he leaves they’re not being separated but they as a unit are simply expanding, becoming bigger. Big big big lines.

people, what poetry speaks to you?


Comments on: "Poets that live in my head…" (3)

  1. Poetry’s hard for me. And though on ABC it got referred to as the baby that poetry and rap should have been aborted, spoken word/ performance poetry has poetry far more accessible to me. I need to heard and and read it though if I want a chance at really getting it. But I like pieces2peace’s stuff and a few local Trinis I’ve heard around and about the place. The Shire and the Braithwaite real bad. When I read the Shire I felt so uncomfortable, like someone’s diary was being read aloud (get it?) 🙂

  2. I don’t read much poetry , but Jill Scott’s Moments.Minutes.Hours makes me forget that I say that I don’t like reading poetry.
    pieces2peace’s stuff is pretty dope as well.

  3. […] Thought After Seeing Your Mouth Smile – You know how I feel about Warsan Shire already. So not surprisingly when my friend directed me to this poem I was once again in […]

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