poetry| 1000 poems in a year + other poetry blessings
Updated: Jun 3
Amara Amaryah | travel + books + poetry, always poetry. a platform for story-telling, visuals, positive self-talk and empowerment | new poems + poetry updates
i hope this week is treating you well so far. it feels good and right to be back with a poetry update. your favourite poetry girl has been busy doing poet so i wanted to share a bit of what life looks like in the world of amara. better, april is national poetry month which is good enough persuasion for poetry posts. 2019 has intentionally been a poetry-focussed year and i’m so glad for it. i originally started this blog as a space purely for my poems. i’m glad that it has remained and spilled into other modes of my storytelling. so…
only a few of the poetry collections i read in march. discovered imtiaz dharker and life is different now.
1000 poems in a year
as some will remember, this january i started a challenge of writing 1000 poems in a year. i’m still going, actually. what surprises me is how undaunting it seems now. here we are in mid-april and the poems are spilling out. it has definitely gotten easier. i worked out that i needed to write 3 poems a night to be on track (pretty much). in january, i was writing 1 or 2 poems whenever i could remember to. this did put me back a bit but i am almost on track with 230/1000 new poems written in 2019.
poet friends, whenever you feel ready enough, start this challenge. i was told over and over again that to become a better writer you need to 1) read loads and 2) write everyday. reading regularly was doable for the english grad in me but writinig everyday seemed impossible. thanks to the challenge it is my daily routine. no longer do i scrawl down some words or ideas 4 minutes before i sleep. this habit of writing everday (now 3-5 poems a night) is going to be a hard one to drop i’m sure. i pray. i’m really proud of my relationship with writing right now. it feels really good to treat my poems like they are priority and more than a night-time outlet.
arvon poetry retreat
we filled a whole poetry notebook in march guys (it took just over 4 months). beautiful to say that i finished this notebook at the arvon poetry retreat. because we like metphors and new chapters. even more of an achievement because last year i didn’t finish 1 journal.
but anyway. i attended an arvon poetry retreat with apple and snakes. i am forever grateful and never able to explain what an arvon retreat is before i launch my praises.
so. an arvon retreat is a highly recognised and sought after poetry retreat with writing courses and retreats at three countryside homes. there are a few locations in the UK which ‘allows poets to be away from routine’ and surrounded by other poets and two poetry mentors. my retreat was in the totleigh barton (devon) site and my mentors were Ross Sutherland and Karen McCarthy Woolf with Keith Jarrett as our guest poet mentor. so amazing. it made it better because we have no access to the internet/signal on site. you have to walk past the second cattle grid to get any access. you’re surrounded by nature, other poets (who become good friends that you plan cross-country visits to see) and yourself. you’ve got a whole week to be yourself without distractions and this is what i think properly triggers you into your best writing. you’re confronted with your own thoughts and (fueled with a whoole lot of freewriting) you have a whole week to examine that.
the funniest thing is, i attended a workshop during verve poetry festival and the arvon retreat was mentioned. in the workshop i was told that ‘as publishers we can usually tell when someone has atended a arvon retreat’. i can say of my own writing that i’ve taken a new (inevitable) switch in my poetry. my poems feel different, better from the week-long retreat surrounded by some of the countries best poets. (not an exaggeration, so much talent and all different kinds of poets). there was a lot of amazing things, moments, poets, poems that happened at this retreat. i really cherish the experience and my withdrawal symptoms are only just calming down.
also, i remembered this poem by Seunfunmi| Verve Poetry Press. Wild Dreams and Louder Voices, 2018.
hippodrome young poets 2019
through manifestation and immersing myself in poetry last month, the poetry news kept flowing. the same week that i was at the arvon retreat in devon, i received an email confirming my place on the first cohort of the hippodrome young poets. this is exciting and exactly the space i needed after arvon. i’ll regularly be surrounded by birmingham poets under the mentorship of Jacob Sam La-Rose and Jasmine Gardosi. so. we’ve had our first meeting and i’m expecting magic.
see you at the RAP party?
because i’ve always wanted to be a part of this poetry night and i’ll be performing at the next one! you can catch me next speaking hip hop poems at the RAP party at Hit the Ode next month. come say hi – may 3rd, 7.45pm, birmingham hippodrome. there will be a whole load of other hip hop inspired poets and we’ll each be sharing two of our fave hip hop songs after.
thank you for reading what i write. i’ll keep you updated with poetry goodness in coming newsletters. subscribe to be the first to receive these and blog updates.