Poetry Platform @ the Railway Inn

Before I came to uni, poetry was one of those things I enjoyed reading and listening to, but never did myself. Even though I read the works – and listened to the words – of all these wonderful poets I found online and in the library, writing poetry still seemed like something angsty teenagers did alone in their rooms. Then I got to Winchester, and I attended my first ever Poetry Platform. The Poetry Platform is a great open mic night, where poets from all over Hampshire can come together for a monthly night of wordery (this is a word now). I loved it from the beginning. The vibe of “everything’s okay here”, the little stage that welcomed everyone, how there was always room for one more person.
The entirety of first year was spent watching everyone else perform, while I was trying to build up a portfolio of half-decent poems in the creative writing course’s mandatory poetry lessons. I started loving those lessons too. Seeing poetry so alive,  and workshopping other students’ lines, sentences I could only dream of writing one day, made me fall in love with poetry as a medium. It’s a love affair I hope will last a lifetime.

I don’t call myself a poet. There are way more talented people, those who can express everything they feel so elegantly, who’ve just got words flowing out of their brains in poetic sentences every minute of every day. However, I do love putting together simple, uncomplicated poems, poems that ponder on how we all more or less fumble through life. My poems are rarely very deep, they don’t often tackle very heavy subjects, but after a performance the other day, someone told me they thought my writing felt like “a hug in poem form”, something they felt they could relate to, and I loved that. That’s exactly what I want my “art” to be. Something to make people feel nice and warm and good.

Here’s a video of a poem I did on this month’s Poetry Platform. I’m still working on the title, but it felt like a fitting poem to do on my (most likely) last performance at the Railway.


(The song is “Har du Fyr” – Hekla Stålstrenga, a beautiful song about your home always being there waiting for you, no matter how far off you venture.)

It’s all a bit soppy, but my three-year England adventure is coming to an end, so I feel like I’m allowed to be.

(For more poetry, both page and stage, check out my Published Pieces and Performances page!)

-Andrea

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“After Nils-Øivind Haagensen”

jeg skal holde deg til du sovner

she puts her hands on his face,
strokes dry skin and chapped lips

hva om jeg ikke sovner

354 days clean
nearly a year of no burning throats or broken nails
and clinging to porcelain life lines

jeg skal holde deg

“why today,” he thinks
but “don’t hold me,” he says
as he expects her to shove his shivers away
but she doesn’t

I`ll hold you till you fall asleep
What if I don`t fall asleep
I`ll hold you 

Andrea Wold Johansen 008

This is a poem from a creative portfolio I handed in for a second year poetry module. It’s always weird to look back at old writing, but I guess that’s a good thing; progress and learning and all that jazz.
The single stanzas in between the verses make up my all time favourite poem by Norwegian poet Nils-Øivind Haagensen. The last verse is the poem translated.
It  simply goes:

jeg skal holde deg til du sovner
hva om jeg ikke sovner?
jeg skal holde deg.

And that’s it. No title, no capital letters or any sense of who the characters speaking are, still it’s got such a strong story to tell. I love it.

-Andrea