Sarah Quinn on poetry

Hello, my name is Sarah and I’m very excited to be writing my first blog post for Creative Oxford!

Living in Oxford and having a passion for all things creative, this is the perfect match for me, and I can’t wait to read what everyone has to contribute.

I like to have my fingers in many pies; photography, baking, aerial hoop, painting I will try my hand to anything. My most recent endeavour has been poetry.

I used poetry as an emotional outlet. Which was born out of a call to arms for an art project to put up posters in break rooms with motivational messages by an artist Andy Leek of @notestostrangers. This was to educate him on what it was like to work in the NHS, participants were encouraged to submit in various forms including poems. After a very emotional tolling and heavy shift at work, walking home in near tears I remembered this, getting up the notes app on my phone I just typed (where in my opinion everyone writes there best ‘work’, the messages you will never send or that idea you had down the pub).  

And this is when my poetry ‘journey’ began and I wrote my first poem ‘compassion, the life blood of the NHS’. A heart felt appreciation of the smallest moments of humanity the staff give to patients, which I personally carried out, but which by the receivers may go unnoticed. 

Now you may wonder why on earth I am telling you all of this and its relationship to poetry. Personally, I think traditional poetry has a stuffy, boring reputation or it’s for aimed at children. Can you remember when you last read a piece – bar the one above. 

Back tracking a bit to talking of the notes app on your phone, I wrote a bit of a tongue in cheek poem inspired by the modern format found a lot over Instagram of late. Where shorter, catchy, no punctuation or capitals is trending.

When I was asked to write a piece on poetry, I was a bit lost, what on earth would people want to read about what I had to say on poetry. Full of imposer syndrome and my usual wing it first attitude I came up with;

The power of the poem;
The ability of a series of words to transport you to a new and magical place, to fill your heart with love only to read another and have it shatter into a million pieces, shine new light on ways of life you have never lived, through the rhythmic beat in your brain turning words into smiles, all this from a couple of prose or words in lines.

I’m sure there are few things in life which can do that in so few words. 

What makes a poem, my version of the definition would be
“A collection of words which is written to express or elicit an emotional response.”

What you might see in this poem is it doesn’t RHYME. *SHOCK HORROR*

Yes, poems don’t need to rhyme, but they do need a structure, tempo or rhythm. 

The joy of not being taught poetry is I’m naive to its rules, so I write as I think, as the natural flow of your conversation will have a natural rhythm and tempo. 

Personally, once I’ve got a first line I tend to stick to whatever that is, that pattern. Patterns are what humans seek, we love it, drawn to it, the cycle, repetition of life we thrive on it.

Note in this poem, the pattern is each verse starts with Nurse,

Next word doesn’t rhyme but is similar, a near rhyme wear/near/fear/hear/dear/year

First and second sentences the final word rhymes; as with third and four.

And the final line is the fourth line end word with an ‘er’ on the end of it.

Which was very satisfying to write!

Do we really crave patterns? I believe we do but the real joy of a poem is that the unknown are found in the words, so are you not having the best of both worlds pattern of the layout and surprise of the words.

Subject matter – now this is the kicker, this is what makes it relatable. This is why you find lots of poems about more abstract thoughts. I wrote a very short poem for mental health awareness week, as we all have a brain (well most of us try to use it) it’s makes it accessible to everyone, compared to my poem PPE which is much more focused to healthcare staff and users.

Influences – The lovely team at @oxfordpoetrylibrary send out a daily email of poetry to your inbox for breakfast, which is a fantastic addition to your inbox instead of the usual spam. They even sent out my NHS poem as they thought it would be great! I found them emails particularly useful as they have a wide variety of content and send out prompts for poems every now and then. My poem ‘Her’ was one of them, which is a good to exercise the brain.

I will conclude to say that everyone won’t feel moved your poetry, but do not let that put you off, because you can write it and keep it hidden or share it and just be proud that you wrote a poem. 

I like to illustrate my poems with photos I have taken, so they are very authentically me. And in todays world I think that’s the most important thing.

So why don’t you challenge yourself to write a poem about your creative endeavours?

Creating something from nothing, is pure art,

Especially when it comes straight from the heart.

Capturing beauty in your favourite form,

Leaving others feeling all fuzzy and warm.

Draw inspiration from all things, both near and far,

I see that creative spark burning bright as a star.

Instagram influences:

@oxfordpoetrylibrary @quarterlifepoetry @georgethepoet @wardsandwords @11.08am @zepplinmoon @rupikaur_  @ gommie_poem

Sarah Quinn
Author: Sarah Quinn

Sarah, with an eagle eye for capturing the details of the world through her words in poems and photographs, she is proud to champion all that Oxford has to offer. Inspired by anything beautiful, Instagram, shadow and light and everything which brings her joy!


  1. Dan Miller

    This is really great, I am always really impressed by anyone that can create emotion and feeling through words. I think the point about poetry not being read, or seeming inaccessible is right, soi thank you for showcasing Sarah’s words, views and talent.

  2. Sarah

    Thanks for the chance to write for this page, can’t wait to see the other submissions.

  3. Steph Richards

    An amazing person, inside & out, who reaches for the stars & brings them to us ⭐❤️

  4. Jacob

    I’m going to try and write a poem. Thanks.

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