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Engaged Poetry by Stavros Anagnou

Stavros Anagnou, 4th year, BSc Biology.

L.A : Where does your passion for poetry comes from ? 
S.A : “I fell in love with poetry for the first time by chance actually. I was meant to be filming a poetry workshop for UniTV at Sussex with poet Dean Atta, but our producer was hung over and we had to cancel the shoot. Since I was already at the workshop I decided to sit in and see what this poetry thing was about. I never really engaged with poetry up to that point, ended up real enjoying it. Something about using metaphors in the right way to convey a central feeling through the entire poem really struck me.

L.A : How do you feel while writing poetry ?

S.A : “When writing poetry I’m generally very engaged once I’m onto something. Nothing else can enter into my attention, the annoying mental chatter ceases, leaving my stream of consciousness flow onto the page uninterrupted. Its very cathartic.

L.A : Where do you find your inspiration ?

S.A : “Well, its hard to pin down a particular source. I get inspired by the beauty of the natural world a lot but generally its due to a really intense experience I have just been through or a particular theme that just won’t leave my mind. Whether its in my personal life or dissociated from myself. I feel that once I have finished a poem that the issue has been settled or I have at least come to peace with whatever was bothering me. Watching other poets also helps.

L.A : Your poetry seems to be a mirror of  your perception of social and political issues concerning our generation. Can you tell me more about it?

S.A : “I don’t generally write about politics but I think you could say recent events have swayed our collective attention more than previous years. The experience that set off the poem in my head came at about 4 am, the night of the American election. An American friend and I had just left East Slope bar were the TV had just announced that Trump had just won Ohio, all but sealing the election in his favour. We went out for a smoke to calm our nerves, as we were speculating what this surprise result could mean for the future we happened upon someone who seemed at first to have had a bit too much to drink. As time went on, however, it became apparent she was suffering from acute psychosis, alternating rapidly between crying and laughter, paranoid people were after her. Keep in mind we were already reeling due to the Trump victory, this took us into a completely different realm of shock. After about an hour of trying to get her to contact someone she new, getting into her phone was difficult as she didn’t even want to even look at it in case she was being spied on with its cameras, we eventually got her safely into a taxi to her friend. I later learnt she was in medical care. It was nearly 7am by the time I got home, I couldn’t sleep, The gravity of the past nights events had my mind racing, in particular, in a moment of clarity after a fit of manic laughter she turned to me tears welling in her eyes and said “Is my mind going to be ok?”. I wrote till I fell asleep.

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