Introducing Poetry

I spent some time in the studio on Friday continuing the development of my solo. Just working on my own, experimenting with some ideas.

A while a go I started writing a poem about my experience, thinking mostly about a mental health condition I was diagnosed with after the fact. Disassociation. I haven’t done a lot of research on the subject, just what I know from what I was told when I was diagnosed and what I looked up briefly after. I wanted the poem to be more of an expression of how I felt, how I experienced it. Every mental health condition affects a person differently. It has its own unique signature.

Any way, I started writing and only got half way. I got a bit overwhelmed and knew I had to stop before I pushed myself to far. I always had the plan of going back to it but I knew it was going to be a difficult process so I procrastinated. I wrote a small bit more then stopped again.

I had the studio booked and knew I wanted to work on the next section of my solo. The poem.

I started by running the solo that I have so far. This got me in to the mood. To be honest, I did have a moment where I thought I might just leave it there. If I just left the studio I wouldn’t have to face it. Thinking back to the things we spoke about in Inquiring Bodies I knew I had to do this. Maybe this was the resistance and this one I had to push back against.

The other barrier I had with the poem was the fact I have never written a poem before. I enjoy a variety of creative outlets in addition to dance. I sew. I write. So why not write a poem I thought? In school I never really enjoyed poetry. I didn’t understand it. I loved English but didn’t get poetry. It was scary thinking about writing a poem, what if I got it wrong? However, in the past year or so I have heard spoken word and loved it. It was poetry in a form I could connect with, I could engage with. So that is what I wanted to try. Maybe it would work maybe it wouldn’t. My poem was always written to be spoken. I didn’t want to feel bound by any constraints that traditional poetry often has. So I just wrote, I wrote what sounded good in my head. It had rhythm.

Back to the studio. I decided to try, and if it didn’t work, that would be ok but at least I gave it ago.

I started by saying the poem out loud. I decided to record this straight off the back so I could listen back and not have the opportunity to run away. I read it. I listened to it back. I liked it. Something about it worked and it wasn’t as big and scary as I had thought, as I had built up in my head. I think maybe because I have been speaking about my past situation so much and working on it through movement, performing it, I am a lot calmer when it comes to now reflecting on it. I was scared it was going to be extremely emotional and I just didn’t want to go to that place. It wasn’t like that. It actually felt very good. After hearing it back so many ideas came to me, following the rhythm and the narrative of the piece I was able to quickly and easily finish the poem.

I recorded it for the 2nd time, the whole thing. Then I started to experiment with movement. The idea was to say the poem whilst moving. At this stage I just wanted to have a go, see what happened. So, I did a sort of improv. I spoke through the poem while moving. Just once. Of course there is a lot of work that needs to be done but I like what I did. I think there is something there that I can work with. I am excited to continue the development of this section too finish the work. I want to also play with structure, where with the poem come? can it sandwich the existing material?

I am interested in looking further in to cross art forms and how the integrate smoothly. I know artists such as Alessandra Seutan have used text and spoken word within their work to enhance the understanding of the piece.

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