Wednesday, August 24, 2011

The Real Profit in Poetry

Common wisdom holds that there's no money in writing. And let's be honest, what little there might be for most of us -- assuming we're not Stephen King or the celebrity of the day -- rarely if ever finds its way into the hands of poets. 

Consider the image of the starving poet, huddled in his lonely garret, warming his fingers over a stubby candle so he can scratch out a few more inspired lines by that same meager light. With each word, he leaves another bit of his soul on the page. 

Romantic, isn’t it? 

Only if you’re inspired by your own suffering. I prefer to take my cues from outside influences. 

The natural world is rich in inspiring imagery, from the humble resting place of a slowly melting snowflake to the panoramic reach of the Rocky Mountains. No detail is too small to warrant your attention. And nothing is too large to be captured with a few carefully chosen words.

Strangers are another fine source of ideas. The less you know about them the better. Simply graft your imagination onto their physical attributes, and you’re well on your way to creating something unique. 

With its brevity of form, poetry excels at capturing a moment in exquisite detail. And somehow, magically, poetry sees past even the ugliest fa├žade to the beauty within.

While poetry probably won’t pay the bills, it will most certainly enrich your life.

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