Community Artistry

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about what it is to be a community poet. Stitching it into poems, I’ve tried to understand the compulsion to go and work with community groups – to face the judgements of strangers and still feel the need to share poetry and the spoken word. 

I often feel apprehensive (and even a bit scared) before meeting a new group because I can be so clunky around people and, on a personal level, I tend to engage better with one (very) small group of friends. On a professional level it’s easier because there’s a clear structure to the time spent: I’m there to share poetry and work on a project, I have a specific role and perhaps that’s why it can feel less awkward than how I am in daily life.

Anyway – the metaphor I keep returning to is knitting. Maybe because I started knitting about a decade ago and have been obsessed with knitting socks ever since. I wrote this line in a poem called Community Artistry : {when the knitting is complete   no one mentions the needles}. I think maybe that’s the closest I can come to explaining the role of the community poet (or artist).

We are the knitting needles. Our work is to knit together, to encourage, to inspire but the work we’ve done should hold together (and still be useful) after the needles are finished with.

This poem and others can be found in my new collection Rebel Sun, out with Parthian Books this June.

2 thoughts on “Community Artistry

  1. Thank you Sophie. As a community organizer I see myself as a social artist weaving with people places and time with themes. Love your voice. Ah freedom.

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