Sonder: An Introduction

The Sonder Collection

Welcome to your monthly dose of poetry.

A poem begins as a lump in the throat, a sense of wrong, a homesickness, a lovesickness.

– Robert Frost

Poetry seems a bit of a lost art in this day and age.

For a lot of people it was despised at school and then discarded, but even for those who enjoyed the subject in the classroom there isn’t much opportunity to indulge in it once you’ve graduated. I only came back to poetry when I began working at The Reader last year, now I’m lucky enough to read it every day, seeking out new poems and discovering old chestnuts. Those poems have filled a void I hadn’t even known was there.

Life has evolved at such a radical and unforgiving rate in the last decade let alone the last century, that each generation seems to live a life bigger, and more spiritually detached, than their parents’. More and more of us are living without a traditional sense of religion these days but despite all the technology and travel we might fill our days with it can’t always quash the human need for connection or understanding that our species has been seeking since the dawn of time.

Times may have changed but our thirst for something more, something greater that tells us we are not alone, that we belong to something bigger than ourselves, has not. For those of us still searching the skies for something to believe in, uncertain if we’ll ever find it, it’s nice to have something solid here on earth, something handwritten, heartfelt and universal that we can turn to. Who needs prophets and prayers when you have poetry?

Books are about as close to religion as I get. That’s where I’ve always satisfied that need for connection and understanding and found the wonderful words that fill the void.

You only have to look at the popularity of certain Buzzfeed articles to see the modern incarnation of that void.

21 Signs You Went to School in the 90s‘.

25 Truths All Dog Owners Know‘.

30 Things Only Parents Will Understand‘.

It seems everyone is seeking that recognition and empathy but these days it comes in list form rather than verse. It was in one such list that I came across the wonderful word above: Sonder.

Sonder – the realisation that each passerby has a life as vivid and complex as your own.

It may well be a made up word, but all words had to start somewhere, and this one has a nice ring to it. It’s always a small pleasure to find a word that captures a feeling that you’d previously been unable to pin down, a feeling that someone else has felt and found the words that escaped you. Another little reminder that you are not alone, you are part of something much much bigger.

So here begins The Sonder Collection, a monthly dose of poetry in which you too might find some solace or inspiration or understanding, or whatever it is you need to fill the void you hadn’t realised was there.


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