• West Cork Literary Festival 8-15 July 2022

My Saving Grace is Poetry (Part 3) by Grace O’Reilly

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Grace O'Reilly

Grace O’Reilly

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I admire and enjoy reading the works of Nikita Gill, Rupi Kaur, Robert Louis Stevenson, Seamus Heaney, Sylvia Plath, Emily Dickenson and many others.  The raw and talented poetry from Gill and Kaur resonates with so many people around the world, especially women.  Have you ever read something that somebody else has written, and whether you are a writer or not, it is as though you were the creator of that very piece, because every single word woven, and also, the way that they are laid out on the page, reads as though your very own mind dictated it, word for word?

As an avid reader of many forms too, I eat books for breakfast, lunch and dinner.  Both of my sisters are librarians.  I love reading fiction and being taken to a place where I would never have imagined to date.  However, I do enjoy reading poetry and short prose where I literally, through literature feel every word written.  I strongly believe that, that is the key to great writing where the writer and the reader are connected for a brief moment in time, by a few words printed on a page.  The writer and reader may, know each other, or they may never know or meet each other, however through the power of words for those moments, they are connected, whilst the reader reads, what the writer has written – the poem(s), or whatever it is.  To be able to evoke a strong feeling of emotions from the reader, one must have some secret component as a writer.  That is the difference between good writing and great writing.  We can all do a course and learn the tricks and tools of the trade but it’s how you use those tools and tricks that can make a huge difference, and then some people were just naturally born, as a writer.  I feel that the same can be said for a singer, and perhaps and actor, even an artist, anyone who can evoke emotion from their creativity!

I love reverse poetry.  It is like a magic trick.  These are poems where you can read them the typical way, and then you can read them backwards, and reading them backwards can have a totally different outcome and/or meaning.  Positive and uplifting poems and quotes can often be a nice way to either start off, or end a day, it can literally be someone’s Saving Grace, and change somebody’s mindset for the day.  It could be the difference if someone gets dressed or not.  As they say in the Spiderman films, “with great power, comes great responsibility”.  To a degree that can be true.  Nobody wants to be the writer, or indeed person that pushed somebody over the edge.  It is nice to be the person or writer that made somebody smile, or set their mindset to a more positive one for the day, but it’s like anything, take everything with a pinch of salt and be mindful, that not everything written, (in fact most is not, especially in magazines and newspapers,) is the truth, and definitely not with fiction, as that is just made up, and make belief.  Poetry for the majority is usually true or based on true scenarios the poet observes, for example, inspiration by a friend’s break-up with their partner, and written from their friends’ point of view.

An example of reverse poetry is The Absolute Worse Day Ever © Chancie Gorkin,

“Today was the absolute worst day ever

And don’t try to convince me that

There’s something good in every day…..”

The first three lines, and below are the last three lines, but read them up.

“…There’s something good in every day

And don’t try to convince me that

Today was the absolute worst day ever.”

I absolutely LOVE, © Nikita Gills poem, Fire

“𝑅𝑒𝑚𝑒𝑚𝑏𝑒𝑟 𝑤ℎ𝑎𝑡 𝑦𝑜𝑢 𝑚𝑢𝑠𝑡 𝑑𝑜,

𝑤ℎ𝑒𝑛 𝑡ℎ𝑒𝑦 𝑢𝑛𝑑𝑒𝑟𝑣𝑎𝑙𝑢𝑒 𝑦𝑜𝑢,….

…𝑟𝑒𝑚𝑖𝑛𝑑 𝑡ℎ𝑒𝑚

𝑤ℎ𝑎𝑡 ℎ𝑒𝑙𝑙 𝑙𝑜𝑜𝑘𝑠 𝑙𝑖𝑘𝑒…”

To some, poetry and reading is just simply that, reading.  Nothing more and nothing less, and that is ok.   But to others it can be much more, it can be escapism and it can be their Saving Grace!

(c) Grace O’Reilly

This is an edited version of an article that first appeared in Irish Poetry Therapy Network.

Read Part 1 of this article here, and Part 2 here.

About the author

Grace was a member of The Gorey Writers Group for 9 and a half years. She is still a member of Writer’s Ink, Writer’s Pen and Write Club in association with Red Books shop and press in Wexford town. Also, a member of the Irish Poetry Therapy Network and a member of Co-Operative Housing Ireland’s first book club, Page Turners. Longlisted in 2012 for RTÉ Penguin Ireland Short Story Competition. Published both online and in print, Grace has contributed to two anthologies with The Gorey Writers, Fledglings 2016 and Taking Flight 2019, and most recently issue 2 of Wexford Women Writing Undercover, where she was also one of the editors for this edition. She read her work for last year’s Wexpressions as part of Wexford Literary Festival 2021 and often read her works for numerous literary events. Grace is also a book reviewer for writing.ie and Children’s Books Ireland, and is working away on several book projects of her own. She is hoping to promote awareness for invisible disabilities, especially the condition Fibromyalgia, which she was diagnosed with in May 2017, mental health and bullying in schools. She adores animals, especially dogs and tries to raise funds for these whenever she can.

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