Poetry is a hymn sung into the ruins of a man. ~ Anthony Anaxagorou, A Sad Dance
Creative living means allowing yourself to be inspired because inspiration can change your life. One of the highlights of my summer occurred when I was blown away by the poem If I Told You by artist Anthony Anaxagorou (Listen to the poem. Go ahead, do it now. I’ll wait). I have not been the same since.
Anthony is a writer, poet and spoken word artist based out of London. At age 28 he has already published several books, has been sharing his work through radio, television (including BBC), and has even toured alongside hip hop artist Akala. Anthony not only inspires, he educates. He has done workshops with the Poetry Society as well as the Hip Hop Shakespeare Company and Royal Shakespeare Company. He constantly encourages us through his poetry (and on twitter) to read beyond the typical “curriculum” and educate ourselves.
If I had one question for Anthony it’s this: What impact do you hope to have through what you do?
This was his answer:
I think that with any communicative role regardless of sector or vocation, one will always hold in prized esteem the great possibility of influence that such a position can create. If I may be so bold as to say that I write poetry for the unhindered reason that inwrought within my emotional expression is a singular anguish so profound, so ineffable that without the aid of the poetic medium I would undoubtedly self-destruct. As with most artful endeavours the work spawns from an internal dialogue, ideas ricochet off the walls of the soul's creative canyons and the artist in turn looks for ways to articulate and express his/her unfounded sentiments.
I try to write with no pretence. I write for others but I believe others also to be myself. There is no experience that is solely exclusive to one man or woman; we all undergo similar happenings throughout the course of life and I find it true to say that the artist is one who is responsible for holding firm the frightened hand of the human race. Through my work I not only hope to deliver a feeling of solace but to uplift and edify my readers with those gentle nuances that suggest we all have a right to know as well as a right to feel and recognize our emotions. I celebrate love and loss through what some deem as being dark and morbid tenets, but I am yet to find the person who can present the loss of love, or the burial of a loved one, or the rage against political injustice with a jubilant oversight. Does a fire not burn when at its peak?
Poetry also has the propensity to alienate its global readers, catering rather notoriously for a select few who regard the art form as more of an elitist club writing only to meet the standards and approvals of other fellow poets. As much as this is true there is also another side to poetry that given half the chance will prove that it has always been dormant in the undercurrent of human existence – the unframed imputes that without effort gives us the will and courage to make our daring steps into the wild future.
Many perceive the art of poetry as being an antiquated verse form that presents itself in vague and unfamiliar wording patterns, nonsensical ideas or rhyming couplets that bear the cheesy hallmarks of GCSE English lessons. I used to sit with members of that notion until I found a world waiting to be discovered far away from rigid curriculum models. Through my years of private study I now delight in the sharing of poetry’s greatest gift – its ability to rekindle the human spirit at any given time or age. My message as a poet has grown ever more palpable. At the age of 28 I remind myself that we never suffer alone and it’s that which has been the driving maxim behind much of my work - be it page poetry or the spoken word. I hope to show people that working class kids, who teachers deemed as hyperactive and disruptive can too make their mark in the world of high art, whilst not losing sight of what it means to be a sentient being.
I hope that I am able to endow readers and listeners with the same assurance and lift that once found me during life’s more demanding and tenuous hours. The only thing that matters to me is that when one person falls they can be sure that the strength of another will be there to help lift and stable them again, up until their own feet are able to sustain the weight of their entire load. Art is not new. Rather it’s an invisible touch that implies no matter how dark the depths can get a cathartic light will eventually grow to spread out of you, regardless of who you are. To quote British poet Patience Agbabi, ‘Some of my greatest wounds have healed into poems.’