It’s no secret that the key to writing poetry is to read poetry. The cool thing is that poems are usually rather short, so it isn’t as daunting as trying to read a 300 page novel or non-fiction book. And reading poems allows you a moment of quiet focus – presence. Focus in another world – escape. A world that expands your mind and spirit – growth/imagination. And it spurs you into formulating new poems for yourself! Win-win : ) One of my favorite poets is Naomi Shihab Nye. Reading her work never ceases to inspire me. She also has a word or two to say about a poet’s responsibility:
Personally speaking, as a poet, I have three duties:
-to be in love with writing, find joy in it, to have fun with it, to feel an immense connection
-to engage the reader and evoke empathy – empathy for what it is that I am writing about – be that a river, a tree, a culture, a situation, an emotion (empathy for the world around us)
-to give pleasure, peace, joy, presence
I am enormously grateful for the gift of poetry, and it is my hope that I may expand the world just a little bit.
Hidden by Naomi Shihab Nye
If you place a fern
under a stone
the next day it will be
as if the stone has
If you tuck the name of a loved one
under your tongue too long
without speaking it
it becomes blood
the little sucked-in breath of air
beneath your words.
No one sees
the fuel that feeds you.