I never thought myself to be a real lover of poetry until the beginning of 2016, which is odd to me as I’ve been writing poetry since I was quite young.
Being part of various online communities where I’ve connected with other poets (written and spoken) and lovers of poetry has inspired me ceaselessly.
Modern poetry, a lot of it, is still stuck in this box of the “It Must Rhyme And Be Rhythmical,” which speaks to some, but alas: I am not one of these people.
I resonate with the ebb and flow of creations by wordsmiths Nayyirah Waheed, Yrsa Daley-Ward, Lang Leav…to name a few. But these are just modern poets who stand out from the crowd with their unique styles and fearless confrontation of life.
The classic great poets—e.e. cummings, Poe, Tennyson, Brontë, Plath…oh, where should I start? Their poems transport me to other worlds that are a mix of the setting and their mindset when they composed the poem, and my current one reading it, and some fantastical place that is known only by my mind. (This is how you know a poem is truly powerful.)
Once, when I was in the midst of yet another existential crisis (as all artists go through at least 700 times in their lives), I stumbled across Thomas Shadwell’s 1676 poem “Song of Devils.” Something about his simple use of language conveying such dark, intense imagery struck me, and it was this poem that showed me the strength that a short poem can have, and how its impact can be felt for centuries.
I was stuck on this poem for a few weeks, processing it and contemplating his frame of mind during the time that he wrote it. Since I am very much the type of person who learns/absorbs information through using their hands, I used the Witching Hour one night to make a series of graphics using the Skulls and Bones set by Graphic Goods as a backdrop for different lines of the poem.
I was quite pleased with the outcome as it looks quite sketchy and like a carving or an engraving on a gravestone. Ultimately there isn’t a political statement being made or some world-changing concept behind these visualisations, but just as poetry is created to evoke emotion and feeling to the reader, so did making these graphics do for me.