Poetry Is

Rosie Hess

‘Poetry is’ is a portfolio of poems written by Rosie Hess, detailing certain moments throughout the narrator’s life. They centre upon a person experiencing separation and longing for their significant other; some of these are apologies, others are confessions. Some are simply reminiscing times gone past. These are interspersed by poems about little things the narrator enjoys or has thought about.


Poetry Is: Portfolio

#1 A Poem I wrote instead of Apologising [1st]

I’d like to start by saying I’m sorry.

I often think of those times you used to hold me,

When I’d wake up in tears.

You never asked for a reason

I never had one.

I got lost in loneliness and couldn’t find my way out

You were my misguided guiding light.

I said stupid things

We both did

Made promises we knew we couldn’t keep.

But at the time, I had to believe

You tried to teach me to love myself

Face the chasm

But only hate grew between us

We swore we’d fix each other but tore ourselves

Into a thousand pieces

I left town

You were my family

Now I never see you

We used to share a home

But it’s like that never happened

Don’t think I’m hiding from you

I’m desperate to see you more

I just can’t help but want to save you.

Save you from yourself

From your past

From everything you think you are

I won’t say it

- I worry about you

Every day

And it’s killing me.

I’d like to end by saying I’m sorry

#2 A Poem I Wrote instead of saying it out loud [1st]

If I could write the way I wish I could,

I’d hold a mirror to your beauty

with all the nuances

of everything you are.

I’d relight the spark in your eyes

with a furnace of positive prose.

Fix up your broken heart

with sutures of loving words.

I could scribble out your past,

leaving an ellipsis for your future.

I’d write myself out of your life,

for our own protection.

But my aching heart

and all the words

in all the world

can never undo

the unfortunate moments that unfolded

between me and you.

#3 An Ode to my Lungs [1st]

I’d like to start by thanking you, for everything you do

Absorbing all that oxygen, expelling CO2

You keep on pumping despite all my abuse

It was you or the smoking, we both knew what I’d choose

It’s not that I don’t like you

I just can’t afford a vapouriser

I brush my teeth twice a day

For my skin I use moisturiser

with you it’s not that easy

as breathing gets wheezy inside me

corrupted by combustion

you lie dishevelled in destruction

and I know you’re not happy

when each breath is so crackly

as night falls and the lights go off

capacity has suffered such loss

thus descendeth the death cough


it’s embarrassing with others surrounding

and they can hear stuff moving around it

used to be as easy as tying my laces

now I can’t breathe climbing staircases

For all that I’ve done I’d like to give an apology

When we’re dead and gone let this be my eulogy

#4 Public [1st]

I want to look at you

in a pool of soft light

with background noise

all alone pushing and

pulling looking to latch on

to someone – share the solitude

I’d like to study you

get lost in you

with a world to ignore

I want to know what it is

to be alone with you

in public

#5 A Poem about That Song [First Version] [1st]

the song ends and the playlist shuffles on

unnoticed under background noise

to that one.

the door pushed slowly closed

opening bar

I undo my bra

silk slips slowly off your shoulders

you watch me

leave the last part

just for you.

a ghost of you traces lines

over everything

lips hover just parted

breath mingles with semantics.

twenty seconds in and

my heart is broken all over again

something must be wrong

do you mind if I change the song?

#6 A Poem about Me and You [1st]

If I could only keep one memory

it would be the one where the look in his eye

made me realise someone loved me.

The longing and loving

for that night

cast all doubt away

everything afterwards

would do me no harm

in being forgotten.

He tried his best

he poured his love

into my hollow chest

where it was poisoned by my disease

and spat back out

twisted beyond belief

we live


we learn

I didn’t want to live when you loved me

and so I learned the hard way

this would be the last time

that I’d run away

#7 Another Poem about You [Found in a notebook, probably written in 2nd]

The end of the year approaches, everything starts to die,

the flowing oscillations of summer now frozen in time.

Wrapped tightly in my duvet,

I reminisce on what we used to say

all that hasn’t been washed away

because I miss you and being certain I knew everything

you were too

I step outside and breathe deeply

the cold air hits my lungs and

drags me from sleepy

see, it’s thinking that makes me so tired

but it’s

thinking that keeps me so wired

and it’s killing me

so I take a seat

on the cold hard edge of the street.

I am the universe and all it contradicts

wrapped in skin

every expanding cosmic mess

all caged within my chest

honestly I’m just trying to express

I can’t find the words and I don’t want them

in how many different ways can I try and explain

I was wrong and you were right

I just miss the warmth of you at night

#8 A Short Poem written on Drugs [2nd]

It’s light out

I’m high now

is it my round?

I’ve lined out

my nose is powdery

my head all cloudy


tired out

I’d hope you’re proud of me,

but this room’s so crowded

and my head’s so loud it’s

getting harder to cry now


I’m so sorry I lied now

#9 A Poem about That Song [Second Version] [2nd]

My vision went pink

the sun burnt my retinas

and I tried to think

I was better than her.

yet there’s still this thing I can’t get over

you remember that musician

the one with the phat rhythms

the one that was our soundtrack

now when it’s on I slip back

as you slipped out of that dressing gown

we were just messing ‘round

as fingertips were pressing down

… fuck, I’m digressing now

don’t let it out

like back in class

holding it in but you had to laugh

or your warm skin contrast

to the dew of the morning grass


just as before Copernicus

stuck in conscious ignorance

convinced it all revolved around us

I remember kissing you on that

crowded bus

and that was a first for me

small leaks and a distance between

in search of a shield meant even

broad sheets couldn’t cover me

sore screams saw streets avoid eyes

pretending we never cried

it all got hazy

but the news was nothing new to you

and all you could do was blame me

so then a screaming syzygy

venomous, poison spreading

like a snake in the grass, slithering

torn asunder,

torn apart.

is it too cliché for me to say

it all happened too fast?

#10 Sometimes I want Tea, others it’s Coffee [2nd]

I’ve always been a tea drinker

my mum a notorious sipper

an early morning back doorstep thinker

the one sympathiser

despite all the times that I tried her

silent minder

of a garden growing ever wilder

Tea is love

like a really great hug

that warms you up

when you’re tired and cold

it whispers courage to your soul

just to let you know

you’re gold

Coffee isn’t kind

I found when I was full time toeing the line

it spits in your eyes

and screams you haven’t the time

for all this messing about

on the edge of an abyss

now sort yourself out

don’t try to resist

just clench your fists

and now I see

sometimes that’s exactly

what I need

#11 A Poem I wish I didn’t feel I had to write [2nd]

I wasn’t me

when I met you

when I think of

all the shit you helped

me get through

I can’t help but

regret too

I say yeah sometimes

coz I don’t wanna be


I get scared sometimes

and I can’t leave my home

my lap’s hot

from my laptop

so I smoke until my mind gets thick

and my eyes slit

feeling sick

impossible to move it’s


I knew it

would end up like this

#12 A Poem I wrote on a Train [2nd]

Rhythmic clunk

bumps relapses

heart beat jump

spark synapses

too many times

burning right through

I’d trace the line,

that led to you.

A breeze of air

whips the hair

you never got to see

claiming fares

of all I couldn’t be

Cutting through

interwoven lines

sunken view

good service signs

brought together

by the tube

twenty-twelve and the whole world blocking my run

even London Underground didn’t want this one

to become

a two.

#13 Songs of a Life Lived [So Far] [2nd]

The ones that conjure trains, bus lanes and a loving exchange

that meant mistrust as you lost your will to lust

The ones that signalled a change in substance and style

those that make you sit back and crack a smile

The ones that hurt

remind you of your absolute worst

and the ones you wish you could go back to hear first

[to be continued eventually…]

#14 The Last Poem [2nd]

The last time you write

how walking down wind of that guy

wearing that cologne

made you feel so alone

and want to curl up and die

The first time you’ll write you should’ve stayed

instead of getting stuck in games

you never should’ve played

If you’d have stuck around

you could’ve made them so proud –

and that’s the last time you’ll say it out loud

The last time you’ll say you’re in the wrong place –

all that should’ve been

now could’ve been

and so much time gone to waste

You shouldn’t have cared about them

instead of fucking it all then

but you just couldn’t face it again

The last time you’ll regret that

which you see as a set back

the last time it’s just confidence you lack

The last time you long to let them see how you’ve changed

from experience they helped you gain

It’s the last time you’re going to apologise

for every time you lied

everything that you chose

those open nights you cried –

every time your mouth stayed closed

The way that you see him in every spiral roach

and cutting tomatoes

you’ll say what they already know

and mumble something about letting go

The last time you’ll muse you can’t feel anything

unable to find a way in.

The last time you’ll fall

from your projected pedestal

and outwardly consider ending it all –

You made a decision in the darkest place

to put thoughts in the farthest waste

and now you’re fully-grown

as experience shows better off alone

Sit up on your throne

and pretend you know where to go

The last time you’ll say

you wish it didn’t end up this way

but you played with his heart

and friendship doesn’t stretch that far

That you never should’ve listened to anyone else


Should’ve just focused on how it felt.

#15 A Special Kind of Love [2nd Summer]

I don’t even know your name

but I don’t need to.

I whispered my wish through

miles of static

and you made it come true.

There’s been something missing

a space nothing seemed to fit in

fuck, I love you.

I know it’s 2,

I can’t stop checking the time

as I wait

and the neglected beast brays

with infected rage as it lays waste to the

walls of its organic cage.

I got your message,

you’re on your way

I’ll be waiting, to miss it would be

a shame

a costly mistake.

Are you ever gonna make it?

It’s like I’ve spent my whole life waitin’

if anything happened…

I just couldn’t face it

an opportunity wasted.

Desire burns in my throat

like loins in pornographic prose

then the doorbell goes

I run to open

as the smoke billows

and my face glows

I’m complete and it shows,

I want to say something

but can't even try

I can never thank you enough

dear, pizza delivery guy.

#16 A Poem for the One at so many Firsts [2nd Summer]

Year seven maths

next to each other, trapped

wielding a compass


year eleven English

listening to mp3’s

through wires in sleeves

your mum and

fighting in the music rooms

for fun

next thing

it was getting messy

ending in travesty

as blood gushed out my cavity

and vomit defied gravity

I couldn’t keep up


you couldn’t carry me

then raves paved the way


Boris bikes

and apocalyptic nights

following lines

‘til the end of time

and convinced we were actually gonna die

that time I gripped the bar sideways

I was not going to Uni

that Friday

you bopped your shoulders and

threw a smile my way

then we danced it all okay

so much noise

it was quiet

communicate in mute

subdued silence

too lost to attempt to impress

beneath torrential sweat

sat engrossed

in the pattern of your dress

I’d forgotten the comfort of arms

until curled up in sweat-drenched garms

in the corner of a room

gone too far

and all we could do was laugh

by common standard of friends

we tend to converse to no ends

but it’s never awkward or tense

we express

in pleasant reticence

I’ve been at my most vulnerable

and most mentally troubled

with you

stripped of all normality

as the real-me

I scrutinised in states of mind

impossible to vocalise

I look you in the eyes

and try my best to verbalise

but there just ain’t the words

though it’s all love about to burst

for you the one at so many firsts.

#17 18-19 [2nd Summer]

Freedom from exams and essays the air pregnant with possibility. The summer makes it easier to break the law. Sipping on a bench until late at night isn’t such a chore when the nights are this warm.

We downed our parent’s booze in anticipation of growing up. Shared glances and gripped chances, told, as we got old we’d never see these days again.

This was the summer of fear, of wondering what we’d leave behind here.

Heat for just harems and a t-shirt at 7am. Too much drive but not enough direction. Silence seeped the streets, as the town lay asleep.

We shouted just to hear the echo, to know that we were alone.

The only time we ever knew control.

Seagulls flapped like my new haircut in the morning breeze.

This was the summer after I’d made the biggest mistake of my life, so far. I consumed chemicals like there was no tomorrow, because I was really hoping there wouldn’t be one.

But there was and it was beautiful. Next to a friend, we danced in a park we wished we’d seen as kids. We walked and she let me talk, though with minds like sieves I’m not sure we covered anything – so I started to sing.

There’s something about the sun sat in a clear blue sky that always stops me trying to hide, that hints at something better to come. Something like a reason not to run.

This was the summer of hope and discovering reasons not to go.

#18 A Poem About Ago [2nd Summer, inspired by Greek Creation Mythology]

Why are you so afraid of the young?

Always complaining all they do is have fun

but when they begin to perceive and form opinions

you ain’t having none

You fear being replaced

someone encroaching on your space

growing up to take your place

and you leaving without a trace

but you’ve got to do the best with your lot

you know it’s all you got

the cycle spins

the youth outgrow old

we all know that’s how it goes

you need to cultivate a new age of young folk

focussed on hope

by passing on what you know

not to discriminate based on shit like race



or the structure of your brain

for now you can’t fuck with the young

and expect them not to fuck you back

‘there’s no respect from youngsters nowadays’

but all you do is take their freedoms away

like Uranus

lord of the sky

overcome with pride

and determined passions ablaze

like fire

barricaded the womb of Gaia

and led the mother of earth to conspire

and in his own son inspire

yet more fear of youngers

and infected Cronus with such paranoia

that he exacerbated the hate

and so afraid of being replaced

as his children were born

one-by-one he ate

yet took it so personally when by them

he was betrayed

now respect ain’t automatically gained by numerical age

it’s acquired through the mark you make

on our finite spherical plane

life is a cycle and recycle of energy

you get what you give and that’s the only way to live

be not afraid of death

look at the ease

that Aristotle and Sophocles

come to mind

or Jesus



they all live on in the people they met

and the things they said

we’re meant to die

to experience being alive

and if time didn’t run by

we’d never run anywhere

so don’t let your life flit by in despair

of growing old

make sure you did something bold

give a reason for your story to be told

share the ideas that got you here

find in that life’s real pleasure

and in that you’ll live forever.

#19 What a Wonderful kind of Age [Arthur Theme song Rewrite] [2nd Summer]

‘Everyday when you’re walking down the street

everybody that you meet

has an original point of view’

now that’s true

‘but if you listen to your heart

listen to the rhythm’

like feet that drum rush hour streets

the rise and fall of your chest as you breathe

‘open up your eyes

open up your ears’

and you’ll find all our hearts beat the same here

‘it’s a simple message

and it comes from the heart’

we need to shift the rifts

as we drift apart

and society sleeps

behind #teams

and screen dreams

impossible to achieve

just a glimmer on the page of a magazine

in a

fantastic world of plastic

everything you want

to backdrop of financial crashes

all we see are ripples

too shallow for splashes

and the price of life keeps rising

‘til all your world is what cash is

with hungry babies crying

people dying

politicians whining,

pointing fingers and lying

lost time in

chaotic minds from

straight lines

that led astray

institutionalised by age old lies

escape in reckless ingestion

bending perception

with tenuous tendencies

for chemical remedies

slurping despair

and burping up cares

start slippin’ and sigh ‘screw the system’

light another doob

find needless reasons to cleave and argue

all the things you wanted them to

jaded generation lost youth

in a world when

‘it’s a wonderful kind of day’

if someone smiles at you on the train

starting to question

‘can we [actually] get together

and make things better

by working together?’

as the long arm of island law holding the truth at bay

begins to break

‘can we learn to work and play

and get along with each other?’

but with forgotten wars waged

always kept so distant

as hope begins to fade

the voice inside gets insistent

I get we’re all different,


but is it really worth all this?

#20 A Poem About Confidence [I think] [Finished in 3rd]

Been off my A game

haven’t written anything new

in ages

as I sit and watch words wither

and waste away

so as the precipitate pit-a-pats

on the window pane

I sat back and cracked a fat sack

and took a trip down memory lane

different pictures leading the way

And with the 6x4’s spread across my floor

I got to thinking of who I used to be

demanding answers regarding

the future me

A hazy daze takes me back

I missed lazy days making daisy chains


the crazy ways in which we’d


one game for days

and get waylaid

in worlds that we made

I missed when hopes were dreams

when we lost time rolling in fields of green

now we roll our green on fields

coz it got too real

dying to be free

when tripping meant a graze

not damage to the brain

and stress was homework

or doing up the top button on your


Speeding down empty roads

glittered beads rattling in spokes

feeling the air flow

through functioning lungs

of young ones

stretching day one

through endless months of sun.

Then I found an old backpack

read a diary and got backtracked


a kind of me as I lost track

and it all came rushing back

my history recorded

the years of awkward torture

an absurd blur of the whirlwind

of being a teen

and trying to find me

I’ve always been shy

but people could never see why

coz with hair like a fucking beacon

I’m not gonna lie

it’s not easy to hide

what a freak

face – a speckled mess of freckles

don’t try to speak

everybody wants to shout and heckle

it’s just another day

of another week


because you cry


because it hurts


because it’s cool to be different

because there’s always someone with it worse.

sticks and stone may break my bones

but let’s not pretend that breaks don’t mend and aren’t specifically screamed to personally offend.

but I wasted so much time in


made up of cracks and fissures

the light inside flickering

like broken fixtures

but giving in

was just letting them win

so now I’m a vegan

coz I believe there’s a reason

and I won’t pretend I’m on a

non animal byproduct diet

coz I believe in something

and others don’t like it

or when my dad says,

don’t dress like that

if you want a life that’s quiet

if you don’t want to be shouted at in the street

just try it?

you are you and don’t have to question why

those that do, only want you to lie

so fuck the fuckers

that made you feel butters

surround yourself with good people

be positive and you’ll see

you’ll reep the rewards

that for so long you thought

could never be yours.

Poetry Is: A reflective commentary

What is like... frustration? Or what is anger? Or love?... Because words are inert. They're just symbols. They're dead, you know? And so much of our experience is intangible. So much of what we perceive cannot be expressed. It's unspeakable. And yet you know, when we communicate with one another and we feel that we have connected and we think that we're understood I think we have a feeling of almost spiritual communion. And that feeling might be transient, but I think it's what we live for.

  - Waking Life, 2001[i]

In an interview with the Poetry Book Society, performance poet Kate Tempest explains that poetry isn’t just ‘something [people want] to do, it’s a way of understanding the world. It’s kind of a way of being a person’[ii].

This collection of poems maps out the change in my style, structure and subject and in this commentary I will discuss how the meaning of poetry to me has changed since I began writing three years ago.


Poetry Was…

When I started writing, it was a necessity. I would write obsessively, and unstoppably. They were subjects so close to my heart that I’d often breakdown while writing them and found myself unable to finish. I’ve always been quite socially awkward, and so writing was equivalent to a guilty secret, I didn’t want anyone to know what I was going through or come across any more ‘abnormal’ than I usually do, and so I’d hide them away strongly suppressed, along with my feelings. This is evident, I think, in the structure and language I was using in the earlier poems. For example, A Poem I wrote instead of Apologising was the first poem I ever wrote and therefore is very candid in subject and not overly imaginative in structure and language – more importantly though, I remember how much better I felt once I had written it. In her TED talk If I should have a daughter, poet and educator Sarah Kay begins by simply explaining that she ‘write[s] poems to figure things out,’[iii] and that was the importance of the poems I wrote at the beginning. Although I do not consider them my best, they were created from notions I had to express, before I could write about anything else. Things I needed to make sense of. As I collated this portfolio, I had to actively stop myself from completely changing the first ones. The earlier poems all suffer from the same downfall of me trying to explain myself too much. They are fragmented in structure and much shorter in length as they are uncontrolled emotional outbursts. An Ode to my Lungs was an early attempt at branching out from my typical style, and – although the subject has always received good feedback – in comparison it to my more recent novelty poem: A Special kind of Love, the rhyme scheme seems forced and the structure uninventive.

Now I see a plethora of ways in which they could be improved in order to make them rhyme or become more fluid, but I thought it was important to represent an authentic version of my progression as a writer.

Poetry became something I valued more, and as I continued pursuing creative writing into second year, I wanted to challenge myself to create poems that were less explicit and more structurally diverse. Thus, poems such as A Poem I wrote on a Train and the second version of A Poem about That Song were created. From friends and peers I shared these with at the time, these were the most popular. Friends who do not read or write poetry often expressed their ability to relate to on a Train. While I really enjoyed reworking That Song because I managed to abstract it from its first version whilst bringing it up to date with the change in my style, I had become weighed down; I felt as though I was trapped in a cycle of repeating poems about the same things, so I was excited to move on from that stage. Again, Sarah Kay, when teaching teenagers about spoken word, stressed that ‘you can’t just keep telling the same story because you know it will get you applause. You have to grow and explore and take risks.’[iv] As creative writing came around again in second year, I was determined to move on with my style and not just rely on the same old subjects to create a reaction. Thus was born The Last Poem, I was tired of my cyclical poetry style and so gave myself one last chance to write about old times of loss and regret. This signalled the beginning of my gradual transition into longer poems about a range of different subjects.

In another interview, Kate Tempest expresses her belief that ‘it’s very important for all poetry to be heard out loud, whether or not it’s spoken word, if you’re just sitting with a poetry book and don’t read it aloud, you won’t understand the poem.’[v] As I began to delve into reading more styles of poetry I found I very much agreed with her statement. I became obsessed with the 2nd generation, American Modernist poet, Charles Olson. As I read his Maximus Poems[vi], it was evident that the way the words were placed on the page would reflect the way in which they are meant to be read. I would read them aloud, taking extra notice of line breaks and gaps between stanzas, and it was as if they transformed from flat, voiceless words in my head, to real kind of solid expressions of nostalgia, love and homesickness.

In If I should have a daughter, Kay explains how it ‘was like lightning’ as she became ‘hooked’ after her first performance at 14. She dedicates this lightning strike to a girl a few years above her at school who approached her after the show and said ‘hey, I really felt that, thanks’[vii]. Last January, a friend of mine put me in touch with the Accidental Festival: a student run event that takes place in London every spring. This was the first time I took the step from being an anonymous blogging poet, to reading my work out. The audience was comprised of maybe ten to fifteen people, some ushers of the event, some relatives and other creative enthusiasts. After the show a woman approached me and expressed her appreciation for my ability to communicate. This led to a summer of falling in love with attending poetry and spoken word nights, sharing work and ideas and meeting likeminded people. I ventured briefly into the world of Poetry Slams as well but I felt uncomfortable in a place where poetry was being judged. Poetry is for personal expression and, to me, simply can’t be compared.

When hearing others’ work I would be moved to tears, or hysterical laughter from a combination of words I felt I had always been looking for. But then after I had performed I found people would approach me to say they enjoyed what I had read, they related to my words and wished they had written it. I’m not going to deny that compliments are nice, I cringe and squirm and have no idea how to take them, but they are often what keep me afloat. However, my ego aside, when people decided to take the time to approach me, I saw it as them saying ‘I understand you. You are not alone,’ especially in regards to poems I didn’t like. It helped to highlight the importance of keeping my doubts in check, as something I felt I had not communicated well had meant something to someone. And as articulated in the Waking Life quote, I believe that’s what makes life worth living.

Towards the end of second year and into the summer break, there’s a noticeable change in the creativity and length of the poems. I’ve always loved hip-hop and respected the lyricism and intricacy of rap verses, so I was determined to hone my poetic skills into a more rhythmic format. I found myself writing less regularly, but creating longer poems. In Tradition and the Individual Talent, T. S. Eliot describes ‘The poet's mind [as] in fact a receptacle for seizing and storing up numberless feelings, phrases, images, which remain there until all the particles which can unite to form a new compound are present together.’[viii] A Poem for the one at so many firsts had been knocking around my head for months and after one particular night and next day, a map of our decade-long friendship just kind of fell out of my brain onto the page. My writing had changed so much because instead of scribbling in a burst of emotion, I would jot down ideas or just leave them mulling over in my mind until they were ready to become a fully formed poem.

I’ve always had a very pessimistic view of my own work and never really considered any of it good. I thought I always fell short of fully explaining myself and was obsessed by inevitable misunderstandings. The one person I’ve shared all work with is my friend and classmate Emily Duke. As we both began writing at the same time she has seen every version of my work so far and has been incredibly supportive in getting me where I am. I have always respected her style and talent, so to have her as my personal editor was invaluable in the foundation of my self-belief. This and sharing my work anonymously online used to be enough, a ‘like’ here and there would quell the rising tidal wave of self-deprecation – and if not, it would make me feel a little more understood.

Poetry is


I like feeling understood. I don’t mind if it’s transient but maybe it’s all we have and the more people I read to and hear read, the more people I feel I connect with. Alone over summer I started attending a monthly night in Peckham, Speaking,part of The A and the E arts collective and other open mics. Through this I began to appreciate the merit of my work and myself, allowing my social awkwardness to take a back seat.

Virginia Woolf believed that when she wrote she saw beyond the ‘cotton wool’ covering the truth of existence and that ‘behind the cotton wool is a hidden pattern; that we – I mean all human beings – are connected with this; that the whole world is a work of art; that we are parts of the work of art.’[ix] Through poetry I found understanding and people I can relate to, who also can relate to me. It helped me to divert my attention from how different I was, to how I similar we all are as human beings.

I had begun to find somewhere I felt I belonged and wanted to share that feeling with others, who might feel lost and unable to communicate themselves. Living on the outskirts of London I became frustrated that I had to travel into the city to attend any kind of creative event. Thus was born Caffeine Dreams, a monthly night I started at a local café. I was blown away by the response and love from everyone who attended. I had friends that had never written before writing poems I wish I had, and others who felt comfortable enough in the atmosphere to read their work out for the first time. The love and family has continued to grow while I have been in Brighton this term.

The inkling of an idea had been planted in my head in second year on the day we took part in a murder mystery with some 6th formers from a local school. There was a boy studying science that had come along because it meant a day off. He wanted to study maths at University and had never read a poem outside of his curriculum. But through different exercises throughout the day, he had written three, really decent poems. The look on his face and the quality of the work was really inspiring. It was a great experience and one I attribute a lot of my decision to go on to workshop poetry with people, focusing on – but not limited to – young people.

I decided to finish with A Poem about Confidence [I think], because it really embodies how my writing experience so far has affected me and how the length and style of my poems has progressed. I still struggle with the voice in my head, but through writing and sharing I have gained perspective that allows me to see past myself. I doodle on trains and sing in the shower, but poetry is the expression I can share. And, to me, that’s the whole point.

My self confidence can be measured out in teaspoons, mixed in to my poetry and yet it still tastes funny in my mouth… but I’ll keep trying to write a poem that I’m proud to let sit in a museum exhibit as the only proof I existed.

- Sarah Kay, Hiroshima[x]

Word count: 2192



Eliot, Thomas Stearns (1996) The sacred wood; essays on poetry and criticism, Available at: http://www.bartleby.com/200/sw4.html (Accessed: 02/12/14).

Kay, Sarah (2011) If I should have a daughter, New York: TED.

Linklater, Richard (2001) Waking Life, Fox Searchlight Pictures.

Olson, Charles (1985) The Maximus Poems, 2 edn., London: Berkeley University Press.

Smetana, Bedrich (1999) Má vlast , Israel Philharmonic Orchestra edn., UK: Sony.

Britten, Benjamin (1999) Simple Symphony, London Philharmonic Orchestra edn., London: Sony.

Tchaikovsky, Pyotr Ilyich (1999) Swan Lake Suite, London Philharmonic edn., London: Sony.

Tempest, Kate (10/09/2014) Kate Tempest Interview, Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IDO2BuQIGQI&spfreload=10 (Accessed: 03/01/2015).

Woolf, Virginia (2002) Moments of Being: Autobiographical Writings, 4 edn., London: Pimlico.

[i] Richard Linklater (2001) Waking Life, Fox Searchlight Pictures.

[ii] Kate Tempest, (10/09/2014) Kate Tempest Interview, Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IDO2BuQIGQI&spfreload=10 (Accessed: 03/01/2015).

[iii] Sarah Kay, (2011) If I should have a daughter, New York: TED.

[iv] Ibid.

[v] Kate Tempest, (10/09/2014) Kate Tempest Interview, Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IDO2BuQIGQI&spfreload=10 (Accessed: 03/01/2015).

[vi] Charles Olson, (1985) The Maximus Poems, 2 edn., London: Berkeley University Press.

[vii] Sarah Kay, (2011) If I should have a daughter, New York: TED.

[viii] Thomas Stearns Eliot, (1996) Tradition and the Individual Talent, The sacred wood; essays on poetry and criticism, Available at: http://www.bartleby.com/200/sw4.html (Accessed: 02/12/14). p. 13

[ix] Virginia Woolf, (2002) Moments of Being: Autobiographical Writings., 4 edn., London: Pimlico. p. 47.

[x] Sarah Kay, (2011) If I should have a daughter, New York: TED.



Rosie Hess


brightONLINE student literary journal

26 Nov 2015