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Interview with Edinburgh-based student poet Isabelle Hodgson

Whilst interviewing Isabelle Hodgson, I immediately feel she is nothing short of talented. I see why this high achieving Edinburgh based poet, bombarded with accolades, helped push her University Slam Poetry team to fifth place in the National Uni Slam 2020. A newly published poet under the student-run literary journal Hebenon, Isabelle claims this is just the tipping point of where she wishes her poetry to go. Isabelle tells me about the new poems she is working on. Reminiscing on her childhood and teenage experience, the poem ‘Pathetic’ arose. It encapsulates grief which we can all relate to – the death of our old selves as we trundle forward into university life. “Much of my poetry is mainly written as a form of catharsis, I know everyone struggles with things. It would be a bit self-indulgent if I made myself sound unique and said I’m the only one doing it.”

Isabelle has used lockdown as a time for reflection and a chance to experiment with new styles. The presentation of ‘Pathetic’ is like a helter-skelter down the page; the poem makes you feel like this lack of control, which Isabelle felt in her life, has transmitted from the paper into you. “Everything I connected to in those earlier years has now become disconnected from who I am today. This poem is almost a shedding of my skin, hence the mournful tone. But, from it comes a time to reflect and then move on with my life.”

This optimism is not misplaced; Isabelle looks through the negativity and then opens up to the feeling of sadness. She does not brush it away but instead, embraces it. Isabelle’s poetry is from the heart. It is unforgiving in its address, and it has resounded with me deeply.

Image: Priya Basra