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  • Writer's pictureT.S. Curtis

World Poetry Day

March 21 marks World Poetry Day.

March is an important month to me because March 2019, over three years ago now, was the first time I hit 'publish' on a poetry collection. The first huge step I took to believing in myself.

I started my poetry journey back in 2015. At the end of 2014, I had written a speech for a speech contest, which I placed third in (a huge feat because I was recovering from having lost my voice and sounded HORRIFIC but still managed to place pretty high). An older friend at my high school had heard it and told me there was something poetic about the way I delivered my speech. She helped me play around with the speech, sharing poetry books with me and showing me some of her slam poems to help me find a way to place my speech into a poem form.

When the poem was together, my English teacher, who I still consider one of the first people to encourage finding the pieces of my voice I had been trying to hide, went over the poem, helping me edit it, and it finally became the poem it stayed.

That poem is now included in my collection Heart & Healing.

Before I ever got close to Heart & Healing, there was my poetry journey. I was writing and typing poems whenever anything good or bad happened in my life, whenever I struggled with anything. I took to printing them off, illustrating each poem, and I still have the full folder with all of my illustrated poems. Maybe some day, I will put them out to the world.

I was on the Slam Poetry team in Grade 11 and helped write both of our team poems. It was the first time I shared my poetry on a larger scale, and I also printed off a little booklet that I gave to a friend. I didn't make the Slam team in Grade 12, and because of other things happening I had mostly stopped writing in Grade 12.

I got back into poetry when I started university and started needing that escape again. I had promised myself once I hit 50 poems I would start doing something with them and when the day I wrote my 50th poem arrived, I was not ready to put out a collection. So I started reciting my poems and posting them to YouTube. My YouTube journey will likely have to be a separate post, but it was an up and down journey and a lot of those poems are still available. A year after I posted my first poem to YouTube, I started figuring out Amazon's self-publishing software. I compiled my words into pages, and found a huge love for the editing side of things. By March of 2019, I was ready to release my first book -- and a month later, I released my second. I did not have huge sales, but it was mostly about me, a little step of believing in myself.

A year later, I removed my books from Amazon, because Amazon no longer felt like the right home for me.

And in the summer of 2021, I republished Heart & Healing and Shades of Blue, with brand new fully designed covers that felt more like me and less like the typical poetry cover I had originally been striving for. The collections were edited, and came with new poems. Summer of 2021, I released Let Them Stare, my third collection and to date the one I am the most proud of, and in October of 2021, I released my poetry zine For When We Stop Falling Apart. Everything is sold through my Etsy, a platform that felt a little more personal, which was important to me because of how personal my poetry collections are.

Below is an edit of one of my favourite poems I have written, which can be found in Let Them Stare. One of the poems that came when I really, truly started my healing journey and I was putting pieces of myself back together. As I was healing, the idea of hope became very important to me and I started to notice it in what I was writing (both fiction and my poetry).

I am now (very quietly) working on Poetry Book #4. There isn't much to it yet, I think I am only up to 5 or 6 poems, but it is the start of the next step in my poetry journey and as always, I could not be prouder.

Being a poet can be tough. A lot of people are not afraid to tell you how much they hate poetry. I have had several people in my real life tell me they will Never buy my poetry books. Which I understand. It is not a medium meant for everyone. Part of the reason I released my collections on my own is because I did not need tons of people to read them -- I was releasing them for myself, for the friends and family who had been asking to read them. And for those few extra readers who, like myself in every collection I buy, find comfort in the words of someone going through what they are. The readers trying to feel a little less alone. Which is what a lot of poetry is aiming to do.

So, Happy World Poetry Day!

If you are interested in reading my poetry books, I sell them through my Etsy Shop. Every order comes with a few extra goodies and I put as much love into the packaging itself as I have put into every one of the books (and the zine!) that I have created.

Happy reading, happy writing everyone! -TS

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