Working in digital marketing means I’m likely to say yes to any opportunity that involves heading offline, especially when it involves reading or writing, so when I was invited to take part in the Meet With a Poem campaign, I jumped at the chance.
I chose to bring my boyfriend along with me to Forge & Co in Shoreditch, our Julius Meinl location of choice. Instead of scrolling through our phones side by side or mindlessly dissecting the latest episode of Narcos, we sat and mulled over three poems as we sipped our coffees. I’ll be honest, it felt a little weird at first, but with the surprising enthusiasm of Ryan, we looked at Larkin’s, This Be The Verse, Plath’s, Morning Song and a war poem I actually can’t remember the name of and switching off felt good.
I think we both needed it more than we realised and it was nice to connect with each other on a level other than Netflix and Chill or arguing over whose turn it is to take the bins out (always his). I’m actually not the biggest poetry fan and have always found it uncomfortable talking seriously about literature with friends (you wouldn’t think I have a degree in English lit, would you?) but it was actually a really refreshing experience that I’d love to repeat.
I interviewed Caleb Femi, the first young people’s laureate for London and Julius Meinl ambassador, who said of the art form:
“Poetry is the one of the purest forms of conversation there is. At its best, it allows me to communicate from an honest and safe place, a place that I am seldom afforded in the everyday rush of life. The reason why I started writing poetry was because I needed a space that allowed me to talk about things that scared me, that intrigued me, that amused me, things that made me vulnerable like telling the first girl I was in love with how I truly felt about her. The important things are usually the things left unsaid and poetry gives me the courage to say those important things before it is too late.”
On October 1st, in more than 70 countries around the world, in various Julius Meinl coffee shops, hundreds of people sat down to read a poem with a loved one and I think that’s just great.