‘I wanted to encourage love for this special shape…’ Aoibhín Garrihy presents her new collection, Every day is a new beginning: meaningful poems for life.
“Poetry is language in its most distilled and powerful form” – Rita Dove
Poetry has always been a constant in my life. During the milestones, the great moments, poetry seemed to mark each one. But he was also there in the quietest moments, a form of comfort and a path to meditation that brought me comfort and inspiration when I needed it most. It has always been to such an extent that I almost take it for granted and forget the power it has for me.
It took a few turbulent years and a global pandemic for me to realize how much I really valued the healing power of words. I found myself turning to poetry more and more when I felt confused, angry, overwhelmed, sad, but also elated, overjoyed, and totally in love. I was drawn to the words of others and sometimes even felt compelled to write myself, however simple.
Perhaps poetry requires you to be in a certain state of mind. Lockdown gave us the time when the head space and spark ignited for me and many others it seems.
In 2020, I went into my closet (the closest thing to a recording booth!) and started reading, reciting, recording, and sharing some poems that had deep meaning to me, possibly my biggest awakening in recent years. I recently heard Ethan Hawke talk about poetry and art and how in our hour of need it is no longer a luxury; it is sustenance. We need it. This was certainly true for me.
Ethan Hawke on poetry and creativity: pic.twitter.com/6FOgo2n6Lg
– get something (@gettingsome) June 15, 2022
Now I keep my poetry books by my bed and at the end of the day, depending on my mood or what’s going on that day, I go through those books to find that food, a poem, some healing words to help me process a particular sense. or feeling It is a therapy for me.
My love for poetry began with my father. He dropped out of school at sixteen, but that didn’t stop his poetic talent: a great man to put pen to paper if the mood struck him. He Wrote four rhyming stanzas entitled ‘Aoibhín O Aoibhín’ on the back of a cigarette box as I watched from the buggy on a lazy sunny afternoon! The poem detailed the lovely diaper-changing cycle and still hangs proudly in Mom and Dad’s bathroom downstairs. He didn’t make the final cut for my new anthology, needless to say, but I’m glad one of his newer works does!
I think that for most of us our relationship with poetry began with our teachers. I was fortunate to have wonderful teachers who instilled in me from an early age a love and appetite for poetry and poetry reading. I remember learning and reciting my first poem at school parties, Queen bee by Mary K. Robinson. I still remember every line:
When I was in the garden
I saw an amazing queen bee:
she was the biggest
That I have ever seen.
He was wearing a shiny helmet.
And a beautiful velvet dress,
But I was pretty upset because
He was not wearing a crown!
In second grade I had a very special teacher, Miss Susan Ryan. One of those teachers who leaves an indelible mark on you, etched forever in your heart. He was captivated by her. we all were. She was larger than life and she loved art. So theatrical, full of charisma and when it came to poetry, the words would jump off the page when Miss Ryan wanted to recite. She animated every line in a way that I will never forget.
I had a truly wonderful speech and theater teacher, Maeve O’Donoghue, growing up and throughout my teen years she especially honed and developed my love, knowledge, and appreciation of poetry, language, and the power of the voice. It was the leisure activity that took me away from the pressure of study and school life. I loved playing with the delivery, the musicality of the vowels and consonants, the rhyme and rhythm, the inflection, the expression in the voice and on the face to engage and tell the story and capture the emotion through this unique medium.
That passion was further strengthened when I attended Trinity College Dublin and began my BA in Acting Studies at the Samuel Beckett Theatre. Voice coach Andrea Ainsworth spent hours dissecting every verse, line, word, syllable and I felt so privileged to have had that time and space to enjoy. It was a special time in my life: I was in a bubble where I played, perfected, told, shared, tried, failed, tried again without the pressures of the industry and the reality of being a working actor.
It was not until I later taught speech and drama and began to share and explore poetry with my own young students, making new discoveries through their eyes, that I developed a deeper understanding of the form and discovered how, regardless of the century, certain themes are universal and completely timeless.
And then my book, Every day is a new beginning, feels like the most natural and joyous project I’ve ever embarked on. I felt like I was back in the dance studio at the Samuel Beckett Theater ‘indulging myself’! But I want you to pamper me. I’ve shared a few ideas about each of the options, but I’ve also left room for yours. Poetry is subjective and open to individual interpretation, which has always been its beauty. The poems reflect moments big and small in our life’s journeys, from our dreams and relationships to love and loss, courage and compassion.
I wanted to break down the barrier that some might have with poetry; to create an accessible collection of poems you don’t really need an English title to enjoy it. I wanted to foster a love for this particular form. I really wanted to share some of my favorites; the poems that resonated with me at different times in my life and helped bring comfort. I wanted to share poems that inspire, poems that empathize, poems that encourage us all to pause, but also to persevere. Poems that bring hope for tomorrow…because each day is truly a new beginning.
Every day is a new beginning: meaningful poems for life is published by Eiru