It’s always been of fascination to me where people write. I’ve even written about where people write. I’m conscious of where I write. It’s got to be right.
Isn’t that right?
Ok, less of that.
Poets are an eclectic species. Poets see things slightly differently than most and rationalise it all with words. Other people paint, or strum a guitar, or weld gates, or drive motor bikes down country lanes. Poets overthink and underwrite. Well, most do. And I’ve a theory that’s because many of us poets don’t get the ‘where’ right.
Now, I’m sure we’re all inclined to pull out a notebook on a train, or a plane, or a bus. Maybe even a taxi, or a car if the urge is strong. There have been times where I’ve been sat in a park, or on the sea wall watching breakers flicker towards the shore, or on a balcony overlooking cities when the pen has emerged. That’s all well and good, but they all seem like such temporary places. There’s only so much mileage you can get out of those places before you have to move on and recentre the muse.
And so, the question repeats. Where do you poetry?
Well let me tell you where I poetry. Share and share alike, so to speak.
I love to get myself tucked away in the corner of a coffee house or pub when I’m in the mood to write. I find that the passing blur of colours and voices and incidents and smells really trigger something creative within me. It could be something as simple as catching someone’s eye, or ear-wigging a tiny spec of conversation, or watching an argument unfold, or seeing a car drive by a part-steamed window that gets the juices flowing. It could be the flicker of flame in a pub fireplace, or the clink of glasses, or the old man sat on a bar-stool contemplating his lot that supercharges your otherwise weary pen. Life breeds life, I guess, so I like to get myself in the thick of it for inspiration.
The beauty of these two places in particular – the coffee house and the pub – is that they are institutions where people come to let off steam. They are places that rumours are banded about, scores are settled (or begun), relationships are formed, or business deals are struck. It’s where the layers are peeled back (particularly in the pub), and people’s facades either fall or are exposed. I happen to think they are two of the most fascinating places on the modern-day planet – and, therefore, if you are a contemporary narrative poet like me, ideal stomping grounds for material.
Of course, 2020 brought severe challenges. I’ve never drank so little coffee and beer. My writing hangouts have been decimated by the pandemic, which has left me high and dry. In fact, I haven’t written a poem in over six months. Maybe I’ve become reliant on the spots that suit me best? Maybe I need to broaden my horizons. Either way, the question remains an interesting one for those of us inclined to chart the world by poem.
And so, where now shall I poetry?