O Captain, My Captain

Poetry Reading - A safe environment to share a very personal art. Source: Cardiff English Literature Society (Credit: Katie Hawkins)

By Cerian Jones

The English Literature society has now hosted two incredibly inspiring poetry reading nights at The Bigmoose Coffee Co, a fantastic venue for caffeine fuelled students and struggling artists to share their creative talents. Finally students have been given a fantastic opportunity to express ideas through a universal art form.

Creative Outlets are hard to come by in a world where art forms such as poetry seem to have fallen out of the public eye, we’re obsessed with celebrities and social media and honest art has fallen to the wayside. social media can, however; be a great platform for promoting art and poetry, for example one of the most famous, young, new female poets Rupi Kaur found her fame through simple, relatable poetry which she began publishing on her blog in 2013 and then Instagram back in 2014, she became well celebrated and published her first book in November of the same year. In an interview with fellow feminist Emma Watson, Kaur points out the downsides to social media:

“Social media can be a difficult place to maintain a healthy sense of self and self-esteem I’m curious how you navigate those choppy waters and keep finding this well of self-love as a woman in a world that does not support that?”

Her work tackled some hard hitting subjects and explores her own experiences both as an Indian born Canadian, and more specifically a woman in an incredibly competitive industry. I found that similar themes seemed to appear in a lot of the poetry read at the society’s event.

Many students, especially international students, talked about their heritage and the difficulties they had fitting in to a massive student populous. Having attended both readings so far this year, I’ve seen new poets attend last week’s reading and familiar faces from the event last month and the recurring themes were prevalent. Students, as well as anyone who writes poetry, clearly use it as an outlet for the issues they face on a daily basis. One of the audience members stated that:

“Everyone was really brilliant; I loved hearing everyone’s different outlooks on life and different writing styles”

However, the hard-hitting and poignant poetry is often countered with some fantastic and fun writing about historical events, and art. Saoirse O’Conner (The President of the society) shared her love for pirates, which just happens to be the theme for this year’s English Literature Ball, everyone in the society is very excited for it, and the tickets went on sale this weekend!

My own experience, reading poetry of my own has, thus far, been fantastic. Reading out my own poetry that I spend a lot of my time writing, and perfecting, and receiving praise from peers (and strangers) is daunting, and it does take a lot of courage. A glass of wine before-hand always helps me! I admire and respect everyone who stands in front of an audience and picks up the microphone, ready to share their most intimate thoughts and feelings through an ever-changing art form. The Coffee Shop was full on Tuesday night, not a seat was empty, and a large and responsive audience is a great pleasure to read to. However, not everybody read poetry, some read out prose; short stories they’d written, and on Tuesday someone sang an original song, accompanied by their acoustic guitar. Poetry is after all born from song, and both are, and always will be interconnected.

The English Literature society post their member’s writing on their Tumblr blog cardifflitsoc.tumblr.com, you can also like and follow their Facebook page. The next reading will be in the New Year, look out for more events in our What’s On Section.

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