PoetryPoetry Workshop

The Poetry-Pain Connection

Charlie examines poetry as catharsis in a workshop linked with the ideas and themes of Giving Sorrow Words, our feature in Charlie Says. For the the full explanation of this exercise, listen to Charlie at the following links: stream or file download.

Below is Charlie’s sample poem.

The First Time the Library Saved My Life

The first time the library saved my life was when my college girlfriend and I broke up. It was a crisp clear autumn day full of gloom and it drove me straight to the one-forty’s for consolation. I pulled out something that read like Wittgenstein, so heady it turned into a blur of words, but just being there was familiar and consoling. Philosophy was on the top floor in the back where we used to meet and sweat together, this was before they


After a while up there feeling sorry for myself among the deep thinkers I started to believe I could hear the building breathing but of course it was only the ghosts of all those philosophers asking questions like why? and what? and how do you know? which was more disturbing than consoling. It was the longest afternoon of my life but I got through it somehow with my love of the library untarnished and only a slight aversion

to Wittgenstein.

     –Charlie Rossiter

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