For Saoro Poetry Month in February 2023 we talked to some poets to learn more about how they started, what inspires them & any advice they may have for writers starting out…
Recently we caught up with Siân Williams….
Saoro: How did you start writing poetry?
Siân: I don’t remember a time when I didn’t write. As a child of the early 80’s we didn’t have a lot but my dad would always make up games, stories, songs and poems, he could create magic with words and I fell in love with how different words sounded and rhymes felt. He could transport us to somewhere different with the stories he created and I knew I wanted to offer this to people too someday. Then one Christmas I got a typewriter and a ream of paper, I don’t remember anything else from that Christmas, just the joy of seeing that typewriter and the noise of the keys clicking. I wrote then for fun and then I wrote to escape, to escape family troubles, school problems and the feeling of not belonging anywhere.
In the past two years my writing has expanded immensely, I had my heart broken, lost myself in the pain and found my true self. Guided through beautiful plant medicines and phenomenal teachers, Ronan O’Brien, Paddy Douglas and Mary Sky. And my soul family, my tribe who held space and time for me to heal.
Saoro: What does poetry mean to you? (As a writer & reader of poems)
Siân: As a writer, poetry is a profound exploration of language, emotions, and the human experience. It’s a medium through which I can distill complex feelings, observations, and thoughts into a concise and hopefully impactful form. Poetry allows me to play with words, rhythm, and imagery, creating a canvas where emotions can be painted with vivid strokes.
Each poem becomes a journey, a pilgrimage into the depths of my own psyche or an exploration of the world around me. It’s a way to articulate the inexpressible, to give shape to the intangible. In poetry, I find the freedom to experiment with language, to break free from the constraints of conventional prose, and to embrace the beauty of ambiguity. Poetry also serves as a powerful means of connection. It has the ability to resonate with others on a deeply personal level, creating a shared emotional experience. It’s a bridge that connects the poet and the reader, transcending time and space.
Ultimately, poetry is a form of self-expression, a channel through which I can articulate the complexities of existence. It’s a journey inward and outward simultaneously, a dance with words that seeks to capture the essence of fleeting moments and eternal emotions.
Saoro: Does or how does writing poetry help you on your healing journey?
Siân: I believe that writing poetry can be a therapeutic and healing experience. It provides a creative outlet for expressing emotions, thoughts, and experiences in a unique and personal way.
Emotional Expression: Poetry allows me to express complex emotions that can be difficult to convey through regular conversation. The act of putting feelings into words can provide a sense of release and relief.
Self-Reflection: Through the process of crafting a poem, I always engage in self-reflection. This introspection can lead to a deeper understanding of myself, helping to uncover hidden emotions or insights.
Catharsis: At times writing poetry has been a cathartic experience, providing a way to release pent-up emotions and stress. It serves as a form of emotional cleansing.
Empowerment: Transforming personal experiences into poetry has been empowering. It allows me to take control of my narrative, shaping my own understanding of events and finding strength in my ability to express and articulate my feelings.
Creativity as a Distraction: Engaging in creative activities like writing poetry can serve as a positive distraction from negative thoughts or overwhelming emotions. It provides an alternative focus that allows me to step away from distressing situations.
Transformation of Pain: When I can turn difficult experiences into words, it has been a transformative process. By giving shape and meaning to pain through poetic expression, I have found a way to reframe my experiences and view them from a different perspective.
Personal Growth: The act of writing poetry is a continuous process of growth and self-discovery.
Saoro: Do you have any tips or advice for anyone who would like to start to write but doesn’t know where to begin? If you have books or articles to recommend please do so
Siân: If you’re new to writing and unsure where to begin, start by observing the world around you and reflecting on your own experiences and emotions. Don’t worry about perfection; just let your thoughts flow onto the page without self-judgment. Experiment with different styles, whether it’s free verse, rhyming, or prose poetry. Read a variety of poets to explore different voices and forms. Find inspiration in nature, personal relationships, or everyday moments. Set aside dedicated time for writing, and consider keeping a journal to capture spontaneous thoughts. Remember, there are no strict rules in poetry, so allow yourself the freedom to express and discover your unique voice. The most important thing is to enjoy the process and let your creativity unfold organically.
Saoro: can you tell us what you favourite poem or poems are & why?
Siân: The first is a poem my Dad wrote for his mother who died shortly after I was born. I remember reading it as a teenager and feeling so emotionally touched by the words that it felt like I got a very close look at their relationship. And Mid-Term Break by Seamus Heaney again the imagery of this young boy experiencing grief was very real and clear to me. I think that exploring themes of death in poetry can be a powerful and introspective journey.
In conversation with Siân Williams