“You’re only as good a writer as you are a reader of poetry.” Natalie Eilbert
“And the verse falls to the soul like dew to the pasture.” Pablo Neruda
In a recent issue of The Writer magazine (July, 2017), an interview with author Rion Amilcar Scott caught my eye. Rion teaches English and his story collection, Insurrections, won the prestigious PEN/Robert W. Bingham Prize for Debut Fiction.
When asked what the most important thing he’d learned as a writer is, Rion said, “I read at least a poem a day even though I no longer write poetry…. Reading poetry every day makes your language more fluid. It makes you more attuned to the weight of words and more conversant with image and metaphor. I watched in horror at the stiffness of my sentences until this little trick thoroughly remade me.
“Right now, I’m reading a collection called, Let it Die Hungry by Caits Meissner. Some poets I return to are Gwendolyn Brooks, Langston Hughes, Martin Espada, Derek Walcott… there are more. Oh, and [Pablo] Neruda. Neruda always.”
What a joyful way to enrich our writing! The compact worlds poems create can help us conjure up our own. Consider this short but precise gem by Christina Rossetti, shared with my Poetry Appreciation Group by author and cherished KWD reader, Toby Stein:
Sea-sand and Sorrow
What are heavy? sea-sand and sorrow:
What are brief? to-day and to-morrow:
What are frail? Spring blossoms and youth:
What are deep? the ocean and truth.
Isn’t it amazing how much meaning and emotion are packed into these handful of words? To enjoy a poem every day — what a delicious treat! There’s even a fabulous online site called Poetry Breakfast I was alerted to by gifted poet and cherished KWD reader Ron Bremner. Sign up for free and it delivers a daily nourishing poem to your digital doorstep.
So, here’s a little ditty to inspire you to add poetry to your daily menu:
A poem a day/ Is a joyful way/ To feed your words/So they dance and sway. Write on!