Friday, 28 March 2014

Guest post: Sophie: on being an outsider

Last night's poetry slam was an experience; my first. 

I am in awe. 

I applaud any one who stands on a stage & bares themselves in such a raw & honest way. I know it's something I couldn't do.

But as a writer there is an inherent part of me that wants to be read & admired. I want someone to say "I get it, this is cussing genius". Though I know that what I do is not what they do. I do not, nor feel that I should, call myself a poet. I know nothing of the form, nor do I read poetry on a regular basis. (do I need to?) 

I simply write.

I've arrived at the conclusion that anything I do have to say I can express in few words (& that it's okay to do so). Andrew wrote a whole novel based on a six word story I shared with him. He needed 80,000, I needed only six. I am not verbose.

Perhaps that's down to my crippling shyness, my inability to make eye contact with anyone but my partner, or to hold a conversation, the anxiety that floods my body before I even step out of the door, or the way I struggle to formulate my thoughts into something coherent.

But is my writing, which doesn't stick to set parameters, as valid as theirs? Could I, as someone who writes short obscure surreal subversive sentences, that have no real point & are layered with sexual intent, be taken seriously? Do I have the right to call myself a poet?

Can I legitimately take to the stage & recite the following:

Electroshock blue 
orgasms & daisy coated
Volcanic honey-soaked
grazes & your
molten tongue on 
stark concrete

or will I be laughed at, misunderstood, dismissed as just another writer?

& there is my fear.

My subversive side thinks I should continue to do whatever it is I do, to call it what I want, & to be proud of it.

Yet I live in Norwich, a renowned city of literature, & I'm still to meet any one who writes surreal alt-poetry, or accepts & praises what I do with my own writing & with Fur-Lined Ghettos. 

Sometimes it feels as though I am living in a void, where anything remotely outside of the mainstream simply isn't welcome. I hope I'm wrong.


  1. I always feel like this at FantasyCon. Everyone seems to be so good at talking to people. If I have a drink I become a little bit better at talking to them, only to regret whatever I've said as soon as I've said it.

  2. Thanks for the comment Stephen. We'll have to ensure we have a pint together at FantasyCon in York in September.