Call it old-fashioned. Call it what you want. But poetry has come a long way. From old-school perceptions of it only living in impenetrable academic tomes, these days, thanks to the widespread popularity of Instagram voices such as Rupi Kaur and the shareability of Tumblr verses, it’s never been more accessible.
And one person who is championing this cause to the very end is poet-wunderkind Greta Bellamacina, also model, actress, filmmaker and the founder of New River Press publishing house (with her partner Robert Montgomery). Casual.
Taking poetry from an ivory tower institution to verses for the masses, in an unusual move, the poet has chosen to launch her book Selected Poems 2015-2017 – dealing with everything from the refugee crisis to the death of Leonard Cohen – in store with Urban Outfitters, rather than a traditional book store.
“I just want our poetry to reach more people. The commitment to poetry by the big publishers in England has been famously slow and a little bit necrophiliac,” Greta explains. “They love a dead female hero like Sylvia Plath, even though they pretty much ignored her while she was alive. So I think we should just go over the established publishers and established bookstores and get straight to the kids.”
Covering a wide range of topics – from Brexit to romantic intimacy in the modern age – Greta champions poetry as not a luxury, but a necessity, and insists that it fits perfectly among the garms and accessories in UO: “It is the greatest saviour against a life of conformity. And also it keeps the world vivid. Our jobs and the internet are so boring and take up so much of our lives. I want poetry that escalates, that brings the world alive,” She adds, “I think both fashion and poetry have the ability to transport you to new worlds, hopes and dreams. They are both everyday reminders of identity.”
Check out Greta Bellamacina’s book launch at Urban Outfitters Marble Arch tomorrow. More details here