Ever since I can remember, painting has always been my greatest passion when it comes to creative outlets. But since joining King’s last year, being occupied with work, and a general lack of resources, I have found myself making use of words as my paintbrush instead. Thanks to my trusty notes app and numerous journals, I have been able to jot down my thoughts and ideas as they come to me, instead waiting eagerly to have my canvas and paints before I can externalise my thoughts. Since the beginning of summer I have, almost unintendedly, created far more poems than I imagined. Most of them began as just fleeting streams of consciousness, but as I came back to them time and time again, they became pieces of writing far more tangible. Writing this poetry has allowed me to understand myself further, whilst also encouraging me to ask more questions about who I am, who I was, and what I want. There are few things we really need in this world, with one of those being the desire to be understood. I feel these poems I have accumulated have been a great start to that pursuit.
I have drawn out inspiration from many writers ranging from Sylvia Plath to Ocean Vuong, brilliant lyricists such as Phoebe Bridgers and Sufjan Stevens, and most invaluably, my experiences. With poems ‘I am, I am, I am’ and ‘in desert skies, between the lanterns’, I feel a stronger sense of exploration into human nature, the female experience, and an acceptance of one’s connection to the universe. Whereas with both ‘Just watch’ and ‘orange’, there is a disconnect from one’s identity through the process of being entirely consumed by the desire and/or infatuation of another. Interestingly, I notice fruit becoming a reoccurring motif of inspiration. It can be so expressive with images of gouging it out, consuming it, ripping it apart, and/or sharing it with somebody. I believe many people, especially women can relate to this idea of giving up your dreams, your priorities, yourself in order to appeal to a person and a world which wouldn’t do the same for you. ‘Just watch’, for me, speaks to this idea that I cannot be praised by the wrong kind of person, because if they think what I do is enough for them, I may never be enough for myself, “I’ll stop entirely”. Being in university, it is important to acknowledge that this is a time where we have to be careful not to spread ourselves too thin amongst plans and people, a time where we discover ourselves and lose ourselves again and again. Our onion-layers slowly peeling back and forth day after day.
These four pieces that I have chosen to share happen to be some of my favourites so far. Although there was no intention of creating a clear and linear connection between them all, a lot of my poems at the moment noticeably tackle similar themes. They are mostly an exploration of female oppression/experience, desire, anti-establishment, and the Italian life-motto and inclination of ‘dolce far niente’ (the sweetness of doing nothing). I am often bouncing back and forth with my connection to nature and peace, whilst also facing the realities of my new-found London life full of trials, exciting discoveries, and people who may have the power to flip normality on its head.
In terms of the future, I look forward to seeing what else I’ll create. I enjoy going back through my old notes/journal entries of 3am inspirations and mid-lecture thoughts, often discovering that some poems even turn into songs. I think in the end I’ll always come back to painting, drawing, and this innate impulse to produce something visual, and I am grateful that I have discovered poetry as a bridge between that and my ideas. You can find more of my poetry along with my artwork on my Instagram @laramilneart.
Edited by Natalie Cheung, Essays Editor