From the archive: How poetry rescued me

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He has amassed a 200,000-strong social media following and is producing books that are critically acclaimed, yet Blake Auden has a very selfish reason for embarking on a career as a poet.

“I essentially had a nervous breakdown four or five years ago,” he told Sorted. “I went to therapy, which would have never been an option in the past, and they encouraged me to start talking about my feelings and to open up to people, and the more I did it, the better I felt. Poetry became an outlet for that.”

It wasn’t until Blake started struggling with his own mental health that he realised there was nothing ‘unmanly’ about being vulnerable – and that’s the moment he started to put his considerable creative writing talents to use as a form of self-help.

Fast forward a few years and today he is spearheading the ‘micro-poetry movement’ on social media platforms like Instagram, where his short and deeply moving poems, addressing a number of difficult topics and life struggles, are popular across the globe.

Yet in 2015, it was a very different story.

Growing up, Blake was like many other boys his age. Born into a military family, he grew up around Herefordshire surrounded by the army. He had friends, a loving family, he had succeeded in school and he had an obvious flair for all things creative, including writing scripts and songs and reading poetry in his spare time.

“I was always very aware of my father being part of the military and I think that was what sparked my interest in poetry initially,” he recalls.

“I started reading poems at a young age and I read a lot! I became really interested specifically in war poetry. I think reading these kinds of poems gave me some sort of understanding about what my father had gone through and what emotions he might have been feeling. He suffered from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) after having served in the Falkland’s War and the Gulf War, and the poetry certainly opened my eyes to his struggles …”

This is an abridged version of a feature that appeared in the May/June print issue of Sorted magazine 2021.

More information at Blake Auden Poetry

Main Photo Credit: Courtesy of Blake Auden

Louis Mason

Louis has always been passionate about writing and creating content, and this comes in handy in his day job as a content and marketing director in London where he is based. Over the years, Louis has written pieces for national magazines and international news outlets both digitally and in print. Louis joined the Sorted team in 2020. His main areas of interest are conducting interviews with interesting and inspiring people and writing about metropolitan life.
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