A while back, I resolved to read at least one poem every day.
My intentions were entirely mercenary. I wanted to stretch some brain muscles, expose myself to eloquence and improve my own prose. I figured reading poetry would help me add zest to my fantasy and horror stories.
So I dug into the Shakespeare. I opened up Francis T. Palgrave’s “Golden Treasury” and imbibed some Samuel Taylor Coleridge, James Shirley, Percy Bysse Shelley, William Blake, John Keats, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, William Wordsworth, Robert Burns. I delved into the volumes of Robert Frost and Jesse Stuart sitting on my shelves.
Online, I’ve been reading Billy Collins, Matsuo Basho and others. I’ve also been checking out Every Day Poets and poetry blogs across the blogosphere.
I didn’t expect to enjoy most of what I found, and indeed, there has been much wading in dreck along the way. But I have enjoyed a great deal of it, and I’m going to keep exploring.
I found what I sought, plus something else: inspiration. I decided to start spinning my own poetry, just to flex those creative muscles. I saw it mostly as a challenging exercise, something to take me out of my comfort zone when it comes to writing.
So I now have a small collection of poems, most of which have at least a tangential zen theme, and many of which will appear at Every Day Poets by and by. I also find myself thinking more often in terms of poetry. Everyday happenings now seem just as likely to prompt poetic thoughts as they are to prompt short story nuggets.
It strikes me as odd, considering my impatience for purposeful obscurity and unabashed self-loathing and despair — two mainstays of poetry blogs, if my recent experience means anything. It amazes me that I didn’t give up on the poetry resolution early on, and it amazes me even more so that I like writing it as much as I do.
If you are fan of my sword-and-sorcery, horror and other short fiction, there is no need for alarm. I am still working on stories that feature lopped-off heads, bloodsucking beasts and dusky maidens ripe for … you know. I’m just that kind of guy. But apparently, I’m at least a bit of a poetry guy, too, so those will keep coming as well.