and the word was: love

For me, writing and love have always been linked in some way. And why not? For he loved words, and he loved me. Sometimes I wonder if I only began to love words, when he spoke them to me. It could be possible – for the truth was that for the first time, I was in love. Undeniably so. And at times, unbearably so. He was “my North, my South, my East and West,/ My working week and my Sunday rest”. But just as this poem by W.H. Auden comes to the hollow, pained, yet also brokenly ironic, words: “I thought love would last forever, I was wrong” , love only exists now as tender traces/wounds trapped in my words.

But apart from that highly personal connection, for me both love and poetry depend in some measure on defamiliarization. In order for love to last, every now and then you must become defamiliarized with your loved one in order to appreciate them anew, in order to fall in love all over again. Therefore waking up one day realizing that you don’t know the person lying beside you at all, and that you never have, need not be terrifying – it can be the most exciting, thrilling and exhilarating experience of having to rediscover everything that made you fall in love with them the first time. In the same way, my poetry tries to defamiliarize the ordinary, the everyday, the generic in order to highlight the fragile absurd beauty of life.

I write for myself, first and foremost. But I also write for others to either recognise in my words, unspoken, unarticulated feelings, or to see in my words old things anew. I have often read someone’s words and thought that they had perfectly expressed the inexpressible emotion that no-one else had been able to communicate till that moment, and I hope that in some way my writing does the same. Short of that lofty goal, it is more than enough to hear that someone has simply enjoyed my writing.

So, this is why love remains the most important word for me: my writing was born in love, borne by love, broken by love, and now is an act of love.


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