Influence on Poetry

I find it funny that people are posting about poetry in their childhood, as I was thinking about which poems really stood out to me when I was young.  I own every book of Shel Silverstein’s poetry, and I remember reading all of them over and over when I was young. My favorite poem of his was probably “Whatif”  from  A Light in the Attic. I still, for some reason, have the introduction memorized:

“Last night, while I lay thinking here,
some Whatifs crawled inside my ear
and pranced and partied all night long
and sang their same old Whatif song:”
I notice now how lyric his style was, and I was wondering if that was part of the reason I liked it so much. Aside from his big hit, “The Giving Tree”, I really liked “Where the Sidewalk Ends”:
“There is a place where the sidewalk ends
and before the street begins,
and there the grass grows soft and white,
and there the sun burns crimson bright,
and there the moon-bird rests from his flight
to cool in the peppermint wind.”
It’s still very satisfying to read, actually, and looking back on the poetry I wrote when I was young (which, for some reason, all seems to either be about trees or the color red) I see how much his style influenced mine.  Though I don’t write in such a structured style anymore, I still have some of his lines floating around in my head as I write.

One Reply to “Influence on Poetry”

  1. Hey Juliana,

    This is such an interesting thought of how your favorites’ style influenced your own as a kid. I was obsessed with Robert Frost, and as much of his writing is about still scenes in nature, most of my poems when I was younger were as well. I never thought about it until now, but my obsession with writing about nature (“weeping willow trees” specifically) changed when I started reading more varied prose and poetry as I grew up. The past few years my style has definitely mimicked that of Richard Siken, my new obsession. This makes me think about the post that Katie made about the Geneseo school of writing. People commented about how they like to imitate styles of their classmates, which is neat to think about in terms of how our favorites influence(d) us both now, and when we we were younger, and that our new favorite poets are those in the class with us.

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