Poetry saved my life. I started writing poetry as an outlet for expressing how I felt after going through multiple traumas in a short space of time. When people show disdain for the idea of “writing as therapy”, I really question whether they have spoken to many poets about why they write. I know that some of my poet friends also started writing as a way of processing difficult life events and emotions. The personal is most definitely political. If you can’t afford therapy, you have to find creative ways to express what is going on in your head.
After first moving to Berlin in 2014, I was manic in my writing, I would spend most days scribbling down streams-of-consciousness as a way of release. When people say that they find some of my poetry to be quite dark, I have to agree, I was writing about some of the darkest times of my life. You have to write about what is real and interesting to you, it’s not about anyone else, or to receive awards or accolades (although of course all that stuff is nice).
Poetry has allowed me to gain access to my sub-conscious as most of my writing is sourced from my nightly dreams and through freewriting techniques. And now that I’ve released a lot of emotional baggage through my first two poetry collections, my poetry has changed in content, tone and style, my next collection is more nature-based (I’ve been focusing on issues such as deforestation in the Amazon), and it has moved away the influence of “New Sincerity”. My writing process is also a lot slower these days as I’m self-funding a PhD, which means I’m taking on a lot of freelance work, and reading and writing poetry seems like such a luxury to me these days. I’m wildly appreciative of every spare moment I have to put pen to paper.
Nisha Bhakoo is a British poet, living in Berlin. She has had two poetry collections published “You found a beating heart” (The Onslaught Press, 2016) and “Black & White Dream (Broken Sleep Books, 2018). She edited “Contemporary Gothic Verse” for The Emma Press in 2019.