Poetry, I’m afraid to say, is a writing form I’ve disregarded in the last few years. Part of it is down to the way it was taught in school, but largely it’s to do with the fact that I’ve prejudged poetry based on my own cringe-worthy attempts as a teenager. Luckily they are all buried in the abyss known as ‘Documents’, and I’ve come to realise that just because I read two or three drab poems in a classroom, and wrote a hundred more angst-ridden ones in my bedroom, doesn’t mean that all poetry is the same. It’s like saying every novel is the same. It’s ridiculous.
I’ve been introducing myself gently through poetry events at The Bluecoat, which I didn’t just tolerate, I enjoyed. I bought the books to prove it.
Blood Work by Matthew Siegel
I’ve read through Blood Work a couple of times already. He read out many of the poems in the collection at an LJMU Writers 101 event at The Bluecoat in October and I have to say that if I hadn’t enjoyed the event as much as I had then I probably wouldn’t have bothered with poetry at all. So I have a lot to thank Siegel for. His poems are about chronic illness, family life, health treatments, relationships, love, break-ups. They are honest and funny, compassionate and sincere. Hearing him read them aloud, hearing how a poet stresses a word, glides over another was an eye-opening experience for me. He was such a warm, friendly person as well, and he wrote a really lovely note to me in my copy. I might have swooned, slightly.
Rupture by Ellen Storm
Elin Storm trained and practiced as a paediatrician before she published her poetry. Rupture is a collection of poems that deals with the emotional experiences that come with becoming a doctor and treating sick children but also shows what its like to be a patient. There are some really heart-breaking lines in those poems that detail harrowing experiences. It’s a collection that allows for the raw emotion that professionalism, that being a doctor, often restricts. As someone who knows individuals in the medical profession Rupture gave me a greater understanding of the psychological strength needed to save lives and, when lives can’t be saved, to carry on.