I read somewhere – some writer’s words, I think – that reading poetry or prose that one admires is a great way to boost creativity and is sure to fuel the imagination of those who struggle to write something beautiful and original everyday. Of course, its not possible to write some beautiful and original every single day. Some of the best writers have produced stuff that you wouldn’t even want to paper your walls with, and almost all good published works go through a number of draft stages before they are anywhere close to finished.
But that thing about poetry rings true, at least to me. I find that I’m most fired-up about writing immediately after I have read some good poetry. It’s not because I think I can write poetry that’s even remotely as good; it’s because suddenly, I feel like there are no limits to the metaphors I can use and the imagery that I can build. Reading poetry gives me a feel for the rhythm of language, and it shows me new ways of looking at things. For anyone who’s attempting to write fiction, that is a pretty valuable asset.
So to help me through the phases when my ideas seem to have dried up and my writing begins to look lifeless and dull, I have stacked a few books of poetry on my desk. It is, by no means, a large collection: I recognize its limitations, and I know that I can access a larger body of poetry online. But I like to linger over the lines that resonate, underline them, feel their weight and worth and perhaps, add my thoughts in the margins. In fact, if anyone asked me what the must-have on any writer’s desk is, I would say that alongside a dictionary and a thesaurus, be sure to place a couple of volumes of poetry.
My own collection of poetry includes:
The Way of Poetry (Ed. by John Drinkwater)
Necklace of Skulls by Eunice De Souza
We Speak in Changing Languages: Indian Women Poets 1990-2007 (Ed. by EV Ramakrishnan and Anju Makhija
Selected Poems by Dom Moraes
- Poetry and photography (junsjazzimages.wordpress.com)
- Poetry Friday: Poems about poetry, inspired by poets (mattforrest.wordpress.com)
- No More Poetry (maasmith.com)
- On Poetry (ontheartofwriting.wordpress.com)
- The Dance of Words (teenchange.wordpress.com)
- Jack Kerouac’s 30 Revelations for Writing Modern Prose (openculture.com)
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