Another month rolls around and it’s time for another answer to a question so subtle and insidious that at times it seems unanswerable.

Stu Hatton says:

If I truly knew the reason(s), then maybe I’d be able to stop. I’ve tried to stop, believe me, but it’s an urge I haven’t been able to quell.

Of course, I can hazard some guesses as to why I write poems. It probably began as a response to the despair and boredom I felt after so many years of compulsory schooling. It was a way of ‘coming to terms’, but also a guilty pleasure (albeit not as guilty as certain others).

As a kid, before I began to write poetry, I’d write stories or song lyrics – I’d make up songs in my head. The ritual of listening to albums while reading the lyrics probably laid the foundations for my obsession with poems.

Plus I’ve always been quite introverted/shy, and often have difficulty saying what I want to say in conversation. I guess writing poems might be seen as a corrective to that – to write what cannot be said. Or to write the off-limits, the inexplicable, the completely mad. To write the impossible?

Adam Ford was co-editor of Going Down Swinging issues #18–#22 and is author of poetry collections The Third Fruit is a Bird, Not Quite the Man for the Job, the novel Man Bites Dog and Heroes and Civilians (short stories).