For many New Zealanders, Alert Level 4 lockdown earlier this year was an emotional experience. But one Wellington woman found poetry as a way to channel her feelings, and she has now published her first book as a result.
Porirua mother Nicolla Eagar wrote 100 poems during the Level 4 lockdown.
“It came out of the blue, really. A lot was happening. It was so out of your control and, really, all you can control is your inner world and for me writing poetry kind of helped to get that emotion out,” she said.
The Porirua community also contributed hand-drawn images to feature with every poem.
“There are a lot of illustrators and a lot of people were involved in it,” she said.
Two-hundred copies of Taking it to the Next Level have been printed, with all proceeds going to Nicolla’s local primary school and the Mental Health Foundation.
The Mental Health Foundation’s chief executive, Shaun Robinson, said every Kiwi would’ve had some emotional response during the Covid-19 months.
“Feeling bad and possibly depressed, angry, too frightened is a totally normal thing and we need to get through to people that it's OK to feel those feelings,” he said.
Robinson said writing poetry or journaling is an excellent approach to express yourself.
“During the lockdown, a lot of people turned to creative-type activities that they possibly hadn't done before and that was a real way to kind of channel those emotions in a positive way,” she said.
Nicolla’s niece, Pippa Nelly, created headlines after she wrote a poem for her police officer mum about how she missed her during the lockdown. That poem also features in the book.