By Michael Redgen.
When you’re a writer, and you’re driven by an unseen force and an unexplainable desire to write, then the words often emerge fluently on the page as an extension of your subconscious, and something that never existed before somehow manifests itself into an entire world of complex imagery and interpretations. You relish in the idea that you created something out of thin air, and feel proud that the blank page or the blinking cursor didn’t stop you from writing something remarkable. You write line by line, verse by verse, poem by poem, and eventually, you complete a whole book of unique stories, filled to the brim with emotions and metaphors, ideas and images, insights and wisdom, and even have the passing thought that you’re the first person to ponder such intense feelings. Your family reads the words intently and always let you know that they’re proud of you for creating something special. You read them aloud on stage and send a few lucky ones off to be published, but on the page, they will stay unread and dormant.
In the 21st century, poetry has unfortunately become a somewhat forgotten art, often reserved for the diary or the journal, with haikus and sonnets only being shared amongst friends and a few rare ones going viral when the message resonates with people. There has been a rise in spoken word poetry lately, and the platform is definitely growing, a place where the slam comes alive and people can share their passion for words with like-minded people, but those feelings are often fleeting and become a distant memory for those who were actually there. Music and movies have always been immortalized, forever recorded on a playback medium, easily replayed over and over again at the drop of a needle, or by pushing play, or can even be enjoyed by going to the cinema or watching a late-night performance of your favourite band. Whereas, poetry is like a rare bird in the wild, only enjoyed by those who try to find it.
So, like the novel, poetry must reside as merely black and white symbols forever on the page, with its layers of meaning lost in the way we hear the words uttered in our own heads. The cadence and timbre are forever up for interpretation, and the simile and metaphor could be easily lost without a proper reference. Unlike the novel, poetry always exists as a complex layer of double meaning, and each poem affects the reader differently depending on the way it’s read and the way it’s heard. Certain images resonate differently with people, as each person has a particular lens through which they view the world.
Poetry published in a book, or even as a single poem, is without a doubt some of the best ways to read a poem, so much storytelling and world-building, and so much multi-layered emotion in such a small space, I will always come back to the page any time of day. But for the unpublished poet whose words exist only on hard drives or in notebooks, forgotten and lost in dusty desk drawers, the hope that people will actually read the words is almost nonexistent. When people do happen to read a single poem in a magazine, or as a temporary post on the internet, or if someone happens to find something you wrote in an old bookshop, will they even understand the passion in the quavered voice, the rhythm of the beat and tempo, the rhyme and metaphor, or the layer of complexity? Or, will some people utter the dreaded phrase, “I just don’t get it.”
In our modern world, filled with countless distractions and endless novelties, we need to remember to do these three things in order to be successful. First, we need to adapt to change and grow with evolving technology; second, we need to be willing to use all our relevant skills, no matter how unrelated they might appear, to help bring the vision to fruition; and thirdly, we need to be willing to collaborate and get other creative people to assist us on our journeys. With their relevant skills strengthening our own, these creative people will be invaluable to your vision.
So, that’s what I’ve done to help me with my creative journey. I have moved my poetry from the page to a new medium, an online audio/visual platform that is much better at telling a story and allowing for the emotion and cadence of the words to truly shine. I have used all my past knowledge and relevant skills to help with the creation process of the recordings, and have enlisted the help of my brother to help make the videos truly come to life. I will always write for the page, and I hope that more people will read physical copies of my work, but for now, I am happy knowing that the poems will have a new home online, and hopefully, they will have a positive impact and resonate with people.
Be sure to listen to my new poem While My Shadow Slumbers and let me know what you think. I’m looking forward to many more poems being recorded and being released over the coming weeks.