I was trying to think of a good poem to quote from in this post – Another September, by Thomas Kinsella? This Be The Verse, by Philip Larkin?
Then I remembered how disillusioning it can be to have ‘words of wisdom’ from older poets forced down your throat in school. You don’t get to choose which poets to study or, sometimes, even what you think about them.
This website isn’t about trying to identify with the poets I think you should like. It’s about writing and sharing your own poetry, what matters to you, and the words you choose to use. So anyone needing inspiration and cheering up should just have a scroll through the poems which have been published on Rhyme Rag so far – it’s a pretty impressive selection. I’m extremely proud to be involved with this explosion of young writing talent.
I remember that feeling as September approached, and I’m not even going to try to put it into words. But I want to offer some hope to those for whom this time of year is less than joyful.
First of all, it’s always worth saying that school doesn’t go on forever and that once you’ve gotten through it, there’s nothing like the feeling of freedom and independence that follows!
Secondly, if you’re writing poetry then you have the best escape valve ever: you can use it to work out your frustrations, hopes and fears, and by sharing your work with other young people you can see that you’re not alone, that there are other young people out there who feel the same way you do. You can turn those September feelings into something beautiful.
I was at the Split This Rock poetry festival in Washington DC this summer, and saw some amazing spoken word poetry by young people (you can check out the website at www.splitthisrock.org). Split This Rock began as a protest against the Iraq war, and focuses on poetry about justice and oppression. It was amazing to see that the festival was dominated by young writers, whose passion and vibrancy shone through time after time.
I’d like to see that happen in Ireland too. In this country I don’t think we listen to young people as much as we should. As a youth worker I constantly come across adults talking about what they think young people think, without ever asking the young people themselves. So get your views known, tell the world what matters to you, and keep writing and sending in entries!
Also: check out Rhyme Rag’s Facebook page and keep an eye out for upcoming Autumn/Winter events – if you’d like to be on the database and get hot-off-the-press news, send your email address to firstname.lastname@example.org.