The Start of my Writing and my Evolution

If someone were to ask me “what poets do you draw inspiration from while writing?” I wouldn’t have the slightest idea on how to answer. Truth be told, I don’t follow or read many other poet’s works (though quite honestly I should). As for sources, at the time of me taking this course I am currently going through a shift in my my main inspiration for writing. I began writing about five years ago. Originally, I used poetry as a coping mechanism to deal with the death of my uncle. His death sent me down a spiral that I couldn’t seem to climb back up from. In my early poetry, I used my uncle’s death as a catalyst to explore my deepest emotions. Fear, loss, anger, and angst were a few of the emotions I drew on. For many years I wrote by drawing on these emotions, however, over the course of last semester, I decided to put my uncle’s memory to rest. I am now currently on a journey to explore new avenues of inspiration. My latest works of poetry have been results of me expanding my horizons. I have recently written poems that draw on my love of music and my feelings towards my colorblindness. In fact, I have delved deep into my colorblindness; in which both I explore its effect on life in a positive light. I have also recently begun looking at other poets works, in order to further develop my own form. In my last poem about color blindness, “ Red-Green, Blue-Purple: Ode to colorblindness,” I took inspiration from Aisha Sharif’s poetry. I hope to continue to look for more sources of poetry and inspiration to make my own.

3 Replies to “The Start of my Writing and my Evolution”

  1. I recommend Go Giants by Nick Laird as my contemporary poetry book. Laird explores writing as a Northern Irish poet in the wake of The Troubles in this book of poetry. I think it would be a good book for you as you are exploring new sources for poetry after using such a somber and serious experience. He struggles with being a Northern Irish poet who doesn’t want to only write about Northern Ireland’s dark and recent history. He is also exploring how to be a poet after there have already been so many “greats” of poetry. That aspect is something I found really insightful and interesting as someone who also struggles with writing poetry that may never measure up to my own idea of a “great poet.”

    A song I recommend for you is “Colorblind” by Counting Crows. What really draws me to the song is the piano melody that runs behind the rest of the song. I’ve tried to write poems that sound like that with very little success. However, I think you could find inspiration in the way that the singer uses colorblindness as a metaphor for something else. His metaphor is sad, but that doesn’t mean yours would have to be. I think it’s an interesting take on colorblindness even though it is a more serious song.

    My last source recommendation is the artist Annette Labedzki. Her Instagram is @annettelabedzki, and she does multi-media painting. However, she is more well-known for posting videos of her mixing her paint before she paints. People found the paint-mixing to be relaxing, and so she gain a lot of fame from the videos. She expanded them to be a part of her art. She will freeze paint into shapes before mixing it, add glitter, use different tools to mix, etc. I think it could be inspiring as you think more about color and being colorblind.

  2. I would recommend you read some Ilya Kaminsky, a deaf poet. He is an immigrant from the Ukraine and writes about living there and here, as well as being deaf. I find his work really evocative, I love the way he writes and I think you would be interested in his work because of your colorblindness; perhaps it could give you ideas for how to write about being unable to see certain colors the way he writes about not being able to hear. I would recommend his collection Dancing in Odessa.

    I would also recommend an episode of The Twilight Zone called “Long Distance Call” which can be found on Netflix. It deals with a grandmother and her grandson using an old phone (or maybe a toy phone, I can’t remember off of the top of my head) to speak to a deceased grandfather. I have not mourned to strongly for a family member, so I cannot offer any truly accurate things that would recreate the feelings you may have felt in order to help inspire work, but this is a thing that deals with death in a way that supports the unknown, and The Twilight Zone is a great show, well directed and shot with an alluring yet dangerous mood.

    I would also like to recommend the short story “The Tell-Tale Heart” by Edgar Allen Poe. The main character of the story deals with rage and its consequences of that rage coming back to bite him in the ass. I’m sure you’ve heard of this one, it’s very well known, but I think it shows an interesting way to write about anger; calm, cool, and calculated (the three c’s, haha). Poe also has a lot of really amazing poetry that you can check out, my personal favorite is “O Tempora, O Mores” but there’s plenty other work.

  3. Great recommendations, Liz and Hannah! Yes, starting with any of these could be good for you, Zach. Try, too, the Academy of American Poets’ Poem-a-Day feed, see what you like, and go from there. I find Quan Barry’s book Controvertibles and Sarah Gambito’s Delivered really good introductions to contemporary poetry, and there’s a whole ton of anthologies to try (American Hybrid is wide-ranging so good for finding the sort of things you like).

    I’m also really glad to see what you have read affecting what you write; that mentality and openness is key to progressing as a poet. It can be hard to come across contemporary poetry and there will always be plenty we haven’t read, but being able to grow from what we have read is an excellent start – keep on going!

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