I’ve decided I need to stop saying “poetry isn’t my thing,” because I have to admit, I’m officially obsessed.

I’ve fallen in love with spoken word poets like Sarah Kay, Neil Hilborn, and Rudy Francisco (click for videos of my favourite performances). They somehow manage to string together words so brilliantly that they evoke a kind of response from me that I can only dream of evoking from others with my own words. The thing I admire most about them, however, is the way that they take their words one step further than paper. I can only imagine the strength it takes to stand in front of an audience and pour your emotions out like that. As someone whose greatest fear is putting herself in vulnerable situations, I can’t help but admire the spoken word poets for what they do. (But, you may be shouting in protest, what about the fact that you write things for a blog to share with the world? Personally, no matter how hard it may be for me to post something like “‘Pretty Girl’,” I still see myself as hiding behind the words. Stepping from paper to blog is sort of a half-hearted step in the direction of spoken word poetry as performance.)

Perhaps as a direct result of this new found love for spoken word poetry, my mind seems to have (almost annoyingly) taken to the habit of working out my own problems through poetry these days. But, as I’ve already mentioned, vulnerability terrifies me, so I’m not willing to share any of those. Other than “Air,” obviously (which is really just a cop-out poem as it doesn’t actually address anything of significance other than the desperate desire to regain control of my own thoughts).

The latest contribution to this obsessive poetry phase, comes courtesy of Lang Leav. The first piece of her poetry I came across is called “Just Friends.” I was hooked, immediately (admittedly, not the most finely crafted piece I have ever read, but please see the next paragraph for exactly what it is that hooked me). I am now anxiously awaiting my copy of her book, Love & Misadventure, to arrive in the mail.

Sometimes, I find myself almost hating poetry for the way it can resonate so strongly, provoking thoughts and emotions without permission. I stumble upon a piece like “Just Friends” and find myself wanting to demand an apology from something that is literally nothing more than a set of 26 letters arranged in various combinations yet figuratively delivers itself with the force of a slap in the face. Leaving me sitting here, cradling my figuratively slapped face, resisting the urge to shout “excuse me, but I didn’t want to feel that right now.”



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