Sometimes, it’s the simplest words that become feelings. Blood, birth, rain, water – worldly or spiritual, they bear the most poignant meaning.
For performer and poet Ranice Tay, this is the essence of poetry. If dictionaries explained words in feelings, that would just about sum it up.
In her dictionary, the word Sunset would include a footnote – see also: Blood. After a trip to Europe (and likely an encounter with a particularly brilliant sunset), she scribbled, “The sunset will remind you of blood”. And so it does, until a new meaning comes along to replace it. It’s always changing, she explains.
If you ask her, poetry is more expression than form – a “breathing creature”. It’s when what is unsaid speaks louder than what’s being said, she muses, and when words or art bridge the spoken and unspoken. It lives in just about every other art form – dance, painting and fundamentally, in religious works like the Quran and the Book of Psalms.
Incidentally, much of Tay’s inspiration comes from her dreams. Lucid dreaming, she explains – in fact, she had one just last night (and, in stranger events, the Blood Eclipse may have had something to do with it).
Perhaps the very nature of lucid dreams lends itself to her work, in the way that it’s spontaneous and controlled all at once – finding meaning in madness is, in essence, poetry.
In BENCHES, a collaboration with LA-based theatre-maker Giovanni Ortega, she writes his favourite line in the play: The best things in life are often random.
Like discovering new meanings to sunsets, or struggling to make sense of the sensations of different words, or finding yourself half-awake finishing off the storyline of a dream.
And, of course, finding gems of inspiration in Instagram poetry.