By Stephanie Bartlett
It's been over a year since I surprised myself and all who know me by publishing a book of poetry. Since then, poetry has been a way of life but I have had to wiggle into it like a comfy chair and let it seep through the corners of my heart and life. You see, when I wrote and published, I had a mere seven months to figure the whole thing out from start to finish, including how to write a poem! I was so stressed to meet my publishing deadline that I burned myself out, wrung dry of any words or ability to write.
Reassured by other poets that this was somewhat normal, I accepted my loss of words...to a point. I have struggled with scheduling in regular writing time, but have made sure to journal in prose. I have found that I can still write a beautiful poem but now the poem lives in me and writes itself about a particular topic that is burning to be expressed. I am just the vehicle to the words, rather than looking for the words to describe a situation. This does not happen often but I am always somewhat surprised when it does.
Lately, when my thoughts wander, I am thinking about poetry and new possibilities. I cannot just yet think about writing enough to compile another collection, but I have plenty of work that I didn't use last year. My original pre-inventive structure was to create a book of poems that would tell the story of my family. My poetic journey took a left turn and the collection was very different from the original intent. The time is right to delve into my poems, the B-sides if you will, and compile a work that honours my family.
How does this help my teaching practice? When I am living the creative process, I am better able to recognize the different strands of creative development in my students. Creativity helps to ground and inspire me, and naturally feeds into my teaching practice. How good is that?