Tim Stead - Fantasy Writer

Writers should Read: 1. Poetry. - May 19th 2013

Why? Good poetry has rhythm, and rhythm is important. You want people who read your words to have a smooth ride, to be able to join you in whatever world you have created. It’s important that they should not be jarred out of the experience by a bumpy road. The border between poetry and prose is an artificial one anyway. When you are writing fiction you should feel free to be as creative as you like with the language. Be a prose poet. Put words together that exactly capture the feeling you are trying to describe. Good poetry is incredibly good at this. Good poems are like songs where the music is carried by the words themselves.

What? Even if you hate poetry there is some that you’re bound to enjoy, even if it’s only a couple of lines at the end, a phrase here or there, or a beautifully coined sentiment.

Here are a few that have inspired and enlightened me:

  • Fern Hill by Dylan Thomas
  • Crow’s Elephant Totem Song by Ted Hughes
  • The Second Coming by WB Yeats
  • Ozymandias by Shelly
  • Orientale VI by E.E.Cummings (The one that starts:
    the emperor
    sleeps in a palace of porphyry
    which was a million years building)

You can find all of these on the web in various places. There are thousands more, of course, and your preferences are bound to differ from mine

I am sure that my taste in poetry is unsubtle. I am no poet, and certainly no critic, but I think that what you write should stand the scrutiny of being read aloud, and an acquaintance with poetry helps.