If I had to pick a single great writing love, it would be poetry hands down. The earliest poem I can find in my stacks was written when I was six or seven, and I think it’s safe to say that I’ve been writing poetry for about as long as I’ve known my alphabet.
Countless poets from the well-known to the unknown have impacted my life, my ways of thinking, and my own writing as well. The other day I tried to create a list of poets to recommend for good reading, and I realized that my “short list” capped off around 20 artists, and I hadn’t even listed all the transcendentalists yet.
Poetry appeals to me for its precision, its complexity, its juiciness… As a woman who is usually over the word count on first cut, I like the way writing poetry forces me to pluck out a single facet of a thought, to be frugal with word and image, and to embrace the emptiness of the page.
I’m a big fan of multi-layered poetry; works whose meanings are at once singular and infinite, whose metaphors are both accessible and invisible… poems which I read again and again throughout my life and each time pick up a unique interpretation. I’ve always been of the mind that the importance of art lies more with the many unique interpretations of the viewers, than with the various intentions of the creators.
And of course, one of the universal appeals of poetry is that wonderfully delicious feeling you get when you read through one of those brilliant pieces. You know the poems I’m talking about. Such poems could be written by your unpublished next door neighbor, or Rabindranath Tagore himself, but the results are the same: some poems stop your thoughts in their tracks. They jump into your soul, twist your brains, and change your outlook entirely.
Who are your favorite poets? What are your favorite poems? If you are a poet, why do you write poetry? How does a poem written for an audience differ from one you’ve written for yourself?