When someone dies, we go searching for poetry. When a new chapter of life starts or ends — graduations, weddings, inaugurations, funerals — we insist on poetry. The occasion for poetry is always a grand one, leaving us little people with our little lives bereft of elegies and love poems.
But I want elegies while I’m still alive, I want rhapsodies though I’ve never seen Mount Olympus. I want ballads, I want ugly, grating sounds, I want repetition, I want white space, I want juxtaposition and metaphor and meditation and all caps and erasure and blank verse and sonnets and even center-aligned italicized poems that rhyme, and most of all — feelings.
When I was a teenager, every little moment called for poetry. I mean, I’m still this way, except at my age it’s considered inappropriate and embarrassing, if not downright creepy.
-From ‘How it feels’ by Jenny Zhang. I reread this today while I waited for the bus in the evening cold, having missed the first one. It remains one of my favourite essays from 2015 for the desperate, goosepimply humanity of the way in which she strings ideas on feelings, poetry, depression and Tracey Emin together.