QM Creative Talents: Katie Gill

Katie Gill is going into her second year studying English at Queen Mary. She has previously performed her poetry at Victorious Festival in Portsmouth and hopes to continue to perform spoken word poetry. She is considering becoming a teacher or a writer after university – and if she works a slightly-less-than-interesting job in the day, she wouldn’t mind as long as she could perform poetry in the evenings!

 

When did you first develop an interest in creative writing?

For as long as I can remember I have loved reading and I used to write lots of (very cringeworthy) short stories as a child. But I started writing poetry when I was about fifteen because I found it quite therapeutic to write my feelings down in a creative way. It started just as a little private hobby, but a few years later I met my friend Joe at college who also writes poetry and who was very kind and encouraging about my writing. That’s when I decided to take it more seriously and last summer I performed at Victorious Festival in Portsmouth, which was absolutely amazing and made me want to read poetry for the rest of my life – it gave me such a buzz.

 

Who are your go-to writers for inspiration?

The main writer I go to for inspiration is the amazing spoken word artist Kate Tempest. I absolutely love her writing and her raw talent and passion onstage is so infectious, she gives me goosebumps! I love that she not only writes about personal experiences but wider issues such as class divides and homeslessness and she just has a way of drawing you in and making you feel like she’s telling you your own life story. She’s very real and she writes and performs from the heart.

 

How do you generate an idea for a poem?

A lot of my poems come from personal experiences or those of my friends and family. Sometimes I’ll see something on the news or witness something on the street that sparks off an idea and I’ll go from there. I’m a bit of a daydreamer so sometimes if I have something on my mind I’ll think up some lines from a poem while I’m out and I’ll try to remember them and build on them when I get home.

 

Here is a selection of Katie’s poetry:

 

Terms Such As These

 

So why must two people part on such terms as these?

When the said two people want two different things

And I can’t just overwrite my feelings with anger

And I can’t just overwrite my feelings with anger

When two people part on such terms as these:

Just two different people wanting two different things.

 

On paper it makes sense –

In a body that functions solely with its head –

But in a mind such as mine,

Fuelled by the heart every time

Why must two people part on such terms as these?

 

They say opposites attract

And I wish that could be factual

In two different people such as these.

And these two different things are tugging at me,

Wringing my heart, heightening my grief.

The simple statement ‘You’re just two different people’

Can bring no relief

When you’re the said different person with the said different need.

 

And I know that when the aching heart bleeds

It only feeds into this self-pity.

But I can’t just overwrite my feelings with anger

And I can’t just overwrite my feelings with anger

When two people part on such terms as these.

Because when you leave you leave to embark on new things,

Not due to any cruelty committed against me.

So when two people part on such terms as these

These two different things can’t stop me feeling for you.

 

I’ll think about you.

And I’ll drag my limbs from the floor once more

And stitch them back where they were before

So I could almost be brand new.

But not quite.

Because try as I might I can’t just forget you.

I can’t just overwrite my feelings for you.

Because on terms such as these…

 

 

Poetry

 

Poetry taught me to voice my feelings aloud

In a way that I can’t do in a day-to-day exchange

When everything’s off the page.

I get tongue-tied, conscious of the way I sound

And my words tail off then fizzle out

And I watch them fade like smoke.

But poetry taught me that I do have things to say

And, yeah, I write about myself a lot ‘cause it’s what I know

But Plath taught me that the confessional is inspirational

And not necessarily confined to one individual mind.

It’s always odd baring all to those you’ve never met before

Pouring forth the depths of your soul disguised in metaphors

And opening the door of the closet, immersing all your skeletons in light

But it feels right. All my life I’ve stored it up

So here I am, the contents pouring first from my pen then from my mouth –

Tempest taught me to let it out! To work hard, when you believe in something your heart will take care of it

So I’m sharing it. Putting all my cares in it, my hopes in it my fears in it

The sweaty palms, the adrenaline before you hear it, nothing beats it

And I’m sure nothing in me will defeat it

Because when I’m stuttering and rambling in general conversation

I come home and write and writing is my salvation.

Not that I credit my creations with great worth

But the ink is the poison the pen extracts, it’s a rebirth,

therapeutic, I abuse it like the addict does the needle

but this addiction is no affliction I guess it could probably cause some friction

but it helps me to confront the stuff amplified in my brain

the stuff I used to be ashamed of

stuff that had started to rot and fester and stink

until it was all that I could do to spout it out so I didn’t have to think.

Dickinson taught me to tell the truth slanted

And that’s where it started before I gradually learnt to pull the shutters up

It was hard at first because stigma is always trying to shut us up

But how can we can look inside without first looking out?

And if this sounds self-indulgent tell me you’ve never turned to whoever happened to be there when you’ve been scared

Tell me you’ve never shared a beer with a friend

Tell me you’ve never shed a tear with your peers or loved a moment so much you wished it would last for years

‘cause that’s poetry. I’ve always known it but as I’ve grown I realise it more and more and this is what I write for.

I open my door, these moments are beautiful. You’re what I’m here for.

 

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