Poets voice that which has no voice in this world. They speak in tongues, and hope their words reach the ears and touch the hearts of those who know what it means to live. Much like fiction writers, poets struggle to remember how to make sense of existence. They share a passion for language, and a common, driving need: to imagine the world not just as it is, but how it ought to be.
Poetry tends toward silence. It accounts for the void in a way that fiction is not always able to do. Poetry aspires to be a song, more than a story, to be lyrically rich. It is also full of primal messages that, somehow, can express the inexpressible. There is more than meets the eye. Fiction writers can directly benefit from reading poetry in this way; lines inspire sentences, stanzas transform paragraphs, as poems animate pages.
“I’ve been writing about ‘real’ characters and placing them in a shaped, or fictional, world. Writing TransAtlantic, there was never really a plan, at the early stages, to question the line between fiction and nonfiction. I just went on instinct, and then these worlds started to braid.”—The RumpusinterviewsColum McCann. (via millionsmillions)
If you’re trying to break in, read everything and everyone on your subject. If you’re a day late on an old idea, you’re not of any use.
The best ideas have no expiration date and what makes them compelling is the particular point of view. Conflating good writing with newsiness is one of the most unfortunate byproducts of writing for a chronology-biased medium like the web.