part 4 of interview series with Miggy Angel
Words & Image by Miggy Angel
art as therapy
“Poetry/writing saved my life. The blank page was the only receptacle that could contain the infernal mess of wild overspill that I was. I believe that art was/is the first therapy. Art was the first tool we wrought and reached for in our initial primeval howling and wailing. I have for a long time had this image in my mind of a woman crouched down, directly after a stillbirth, and in her grief she reaches her hands down into the blood and viscera and begins to mark the walls with the raw material of her grief. That’s the birth of art, right there. I saw recently that they did a study and found that the vast majority of hands used in the very first cave paintings were womens’ hands. Basically, if a person doesn’t understand that blood and viscera were the first ink or paint then I don’t have a lot to say to them. We are obviously not mining the same vein nor drinking at the same vine. I facilitate a weekly writing workshop for people who are facing addiction issues, and I also take poetry workshops into schools for teenagers. My whole life makes sense in the context of community arts. I went through what I had to go through, so that art could save my life, and so I could then take that passion and enthusiasm for art into the lives of people who need art the most. Poetry for some of us is do or die, and around people for whom that is the case, I am at my most content. If you ever saw me turn a school assembly hall into an open mic for 300 teenagers then you would understand. I feel most myself when I am pulling poems from the forever nooks of your broken heart”.
poetry for the ear or eye
“I write poetry for the heart and the gut. I write poetry for the boy and girl in the miniature Minotaur masks crouched in the corner of the burning doll’s house. Ah, I don’t know. I crawled on my hands and knees for eternity across broken glass and molten tarmac just to tell you a poem. But if you’d like to read it, instead, quietly, inside the halls of your own sweet mind, to yourself, then that’s perfectly ok, too, because I love you enough to let you choose. I’d say that craft is what people mean when they talk about page poetry, and content is usually associated with oral, spoken, performed poetry. So when I write I suppose what I’m trying to do is achieve a balance between wild content and hard craft. Go read a book like Ai’s ‘Cruelty’ for the balancing of content and craft. Women tend to do it best, in my opinion. Plath knew all about it, and no one has ever done it better, really”.
Paperback copies are a little rare, best to contact Miggy’s website.
Miggy organises and comperes Nottingham’s monthly
poetry event Speech Therapy and facilitates writer’s workshops.
Part 1 & Part 2 & Part 3 of interview series with Miggy