Poetry and Attention Deficit Disorder and Art

I was diagnosed with ADD a few years ago and have been taking ritalin until about a month ago.  I don’t like taking ritalin. What I appreciated was the fact that it gave me the ability to sit down and focus for long periods, and not be utterly exhausted and distraught at the end of the day – that was awesome, I must say, but I was getting side effects and I couldn’t bear the thought of taking it forever just to get through a working day.

Things changed a month ago – I had some hypnotherapy sessions, which were pretty out there and astonishingly successful (turns out there was a reason my brain decided I had ADD) – and since then I’ve not taken ritatin and yet been able to focus at work and various other things that I would have once had a pill for.

I still have ADD but it no longer is causing me suffering – yes I am high energy, easily distracted, and have wildly swinging energy levels – but my ability to focus has increased and my effectiveness is now about equal with how I was on ritalin. All this and no side effects too!

A totally unexpected side effect of all of this : I am suddenly in love with poetry.
I could never stand much poetry before.

The only poet I’ve ever really liked is John Keats.

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I read the Dan Simmons Hyperion/Endymion books and the man is obsessed with Keats. And I’m a geek, and what a geek does is goes out and frantically finds everything they can about things they like, so I decided to have a bit of a look into this keats dude.

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So i went out and got some poetry and it’s awesome. I’ve read a biography of Keats and I forced my way to reading his poetry even though at the time I struggled with focusing on poetry.

I even illustrated Hyperion (the poem) in tiny little watercolours at one point – here they are

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However I never had much time for other poets.  Now I’ve started looking into them and reading them and really loving them.

Poetry is an odd thing to read. You don’t read it like a novel (though the novels by people like Marilynne Robinson, are in effect poetry in literature form) – you read it in flashes which then cause some sort of emotion. I never really ‘got’ it before and got bored and gave up. Now I can sit down with a poem and contemplate it and think about imagery and what it’s saying, for considerable amounts of time.

Here’s a picture from Hyperion but it’s kind of similar to my hypnotherapy session where I banished my FearOfBoredom.

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Walt Whitman is one of my current favorite poets.

I think i am actually liking the turn of last century American poets.

I have discovered that i REALLY love TS Eliot – The Waste Land is both entirely incomprehensible and emotionally charged to read. I’ve got a copy in my bag and I fish it out and read a bit of it here and there. What an amazing thing he did. It’s really really really good.  That’s THREE reallys. PRETTY GOOD RIGHT THERE.

This is NOT a portrait of the waste land:

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I’ve already done one painting based on Eliot, which I have not had yet the enthusiasm to scan in and upload here – this is why you’re getting this other series.  I suspect there will be more to come. Poetry now, for me, is pleasure to read, and causes emotion, and emotion is what i do like to harness in order to get a good painting out.