Artist Statement by Fellow Inez Bell

Artist Statement
Inez Bell

I continue to miss the target at describing what poetry means to me. I do not believe it is something that I can fully discuss in a two to three page essay, in an artist statement, or even in a poem itself. However, I do believe that it is and will continue to be what makes it okay to think and to feel. Sometimes, it is scary to approach writing, because, writing makes me feel vulnerable -- as it should. Blank pages open me up, whether or not I want to be that way. I fear poetry because I cannot always harness it the way I’d like to, and a lot of the time, that failure is more frustrating than the dramatic situation that initially drew me to the page.

However, poetry is a state of being or a state of mind. I’ve learned that I am not a poet because I write poetry, but that I am a poet because poetry is where I live.

I am a writer, a listener and an observer. I write because I have a responsibility to myself, and ultimately, because I have a responsibility to language. Poetry is what I do with my isolation. The self-imposition of form allows me to mold experiences into wisdom. To begin a piece means to reconstruct a thought, memory, feeling or conversation. It means discovering every crevice of a sight, touch, smell, sound or taste. It seems that inevitability gives birth to rhythm and diversity. The self-confidence born of low self-esteem inspires me to create new dimensions and layers all within the white space of a blank page.

However, after everything, after every clichéd sentence, every metaphor, and every thought or emotion I could (or couldn’t) explain, the only solid, simple and understandable statement I can make about poetry is that I need it. (Yes, poetry ends like a rope.)