I was driven to poetry from a very early age as a way of sorting through my emotions and lived experiences. It became therapy to be: Being able to reduce all these crippling feelings to small chunks of text – almost soundbites at times – so that things I had no control over could be compartmentalized and somehow (even if just for a cathartic few seconds) extirpated.
Despite being rather prolific, very few of the poems I write end up seeing the light of day. Instead, I usually “hoard” my poems until they get picked up by a literary journal or magazine for publication. The reason for this being that most publications don’t accept any material that’s been previously released – including your work featuring in your personal blog or even social profiles. This coupled with long publishing cycles and my frequent inability to stop tweaking my work translates into but a handful of verses being available to readers.
To make up for this, to keep me sane during the Coronavirus quarantine, and to make poetry a little more social, I started an “experiment” of sorts: ‘The #tpomarquarantinepoetry Series’. On March 29, I asked Instagram followers to slide into my DMs and give me a writing prompt:
A topic, a single word, a short phrase, a picture, a feeling, song lyrics, etc. Whatever really. Anything goes. I will then (try to) write a poem from a given prompt in the following 7 days and share it on my Instagram profile.
I was terrified and excited in equal measure. In a way, letting go of a poem in a week seemed pretty liberating. On the other hand, I was immediately riddled with anxiety.
6 weeks later, I’m starting to share my quarantine poems here too. Stay tuned…