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Greta Bellamacina on finding hope in the here and now

Poet, filmmaker and actor GRETA BELLAMACINA shares the ways she’s keeping some control during lockdown, where she’s finding joy in the everyday – and why there is reason to be hopeful


On how she’s filling her days

I’ve been trying to slow down my mind by reading as much as possible. I don’t usually have much time to fully digest a book or script, but I’ve loved reading at a slow pace and making notes and really allowing myself the time to absorb it. I find this really helps to look at the world in a more rational way.

I’ve been making a scrapbook to document the days with my two children. I’ve found it a good way of looking back at the week and piecing together the important bits; it’s sort of an illogical diary. I keep all news switched off and only research things when they enter my mind – I find this a helpful way to keep some control.

On creativity and change during lockdown

I’ve tried not to put too much pressure on myself to be creative, but I’ve felt compelled to write poetry and have been writing a lot. The immediate world around us has changed. Birdsong is louder than the cars on the street, and the birds are all calling out to one another. It’s as though the world has forced us to look closer at what is most important, and to remember its sacredness.

On how she is finding joy in the everyday

I go for a walk round the old Brompton Cemetery a few times a week, very early in the morning, and take pleasure in the small things: the new spring flowers; broken bits of poetry that are hidden all around; white doves, squirrels and crows – small reminders of the magic of the world. I am also loving [singer-songwriter] Lou Doillon’s daily live poetry and music readings at 5pm Paris time. She has such a brilliant knowledge of literature and never fails to bring joy.

On reimagining the creative industries and staying connected

My new poetry book, Smear: Poems For Girls, a collection of feminist poetry that I edited, was released recently. We haven’t had a chance to do a book launch, but we’ve decided to do a virtual live reading with some of the poets later this month so that everyone involved can join in. I love the idea of recreating Allen Ginsberg’s 1965 International Poetry Incarnation live online for anyone to tune in to. We also had to put back the cinema-release date for my film, Hurt by Paradise. It’s been a matter of trying to find ways to look ahead positively and stay connected as much as possible with other creatives, getting inspiration from each other and sharing ideas. We are lucky to live in an age of technology, I guess, but a lot of creative workers are hurting and worried, as are people in every industry.

On recognising the cohesive forces of the arts

There has never been a more important time for the arts than now. We need to bring people together, break down the isolation and reflect back the love and kindness of the world. We would be nobody without everybody. Poetry is about freedom; it is about entering the world with new eyes again and again. It is the eternal language of the heart, and it is the heart’s language we need now more than ever.

Smear: Poems For Girls is published by Andrews McMeel and available now