Friday, March 21, 2008

Poetry Tips Question 3: How Do You Seek Out Inspiration?

Jim Murdoch:

I don't. It seeks me out. If I don't have any then I write without it. It's nice to have it but it's not essential.

Barbara Smith:

Er. I was told 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration. And that's pretty much true. Keep on writing and working at stuff and you get better at writing better stuff. No big secret. Writing is like a muscle that you tone through use - though watch out for RSI. ;)

Rob Mack:

Sometimes it just arrives out of the blue. Other times it seems to happen in the middle of writing something entirely uninspired i.e. you create your own inspiration. But if you try too hard to seek out inspiration, it will stay hidden away. That’s the one sure thing.

Juliet Wilson:
Inspiration is everywhere, its recognizing it and using it that is the challenge.

Ben Wilkinson:

Pass. Everyday life, books, personal interests, newspapers, personal experience (more often than not twisted and reinvented), possibilities (both personal and universal), how shit-scary life and the world can be, other poems, things all over the bloody place. It tends to turn up at random rather than in my actively seeking it out. And it's normally a case of whether or not the subject lends itself well in my mind to a good first line or two, or a strong image or metaphor or something I can scribble down in a notebook. Sometimes I write about the strangest things, or things I never thought I'd write about. A breakthrough piece for me (in that it was my first poem published in the TLS) came in the form of a short sequence on the scientist Nikola Telsa. Break the rules. There's no such thing as an un-poetic subject: it's just whether or not the poet is up to making it into one.

Cuitlamiztli Carter:

To set up a rough metaphor, modern magicians don't so much segregate their lives into the "magickal moments" and the "mundane moments."Instead, they view each moment via a new lens. Every moment has both magickal potential & magickal significance. Likewise, inspiration is everywhere you are - as much as that sounds like a sophism, as one discovers what her or his poetic goals are, and dwells on those goals,they will begin to see connections in events, scenery, conversations,etc. that will provide them ways to express those goals.I would also say, less mystically, to read, read, read. The more you put other people's ideas into your brain, the more you can use them as a springboard. Also, it will make you aware of what's already been explored, so you can make sure your work is fresh.

Hazel B. Cameron
By reading anything other than poetry or listening to interviews...usually one phrase catches me out and I have to stop and write a poem. I often get inspiration when it’s impossible to write – like in the shower, a business meeting or whilst driving.

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Tommaso Gervasutti said...

These are interesting issues, especially about inspiration, maybe the most tricky and alluring subject. I continue to consider the possibility of "an external energy with a will of its own" and in my blog I more than once can't avoid the subject:

Best wishes, Davide Trame

Dave King said...

An interesting question, with as many answers as there are writers, artists, poets, whatever. For me the answer is to write, draw, whatever, even if its garbage. Sooner of later some branch or other will push its way through the stony rubbish. The worst thing is to be paralysed, in fear of the white page or the blank canvas. Sometimes reading will help, but just waiting for inspiration is fatal.

Poet Hound said...

Thank you for your responses gentlemen. I think just taking a chance on an idea as an artist (writers included in artis) is a worthwhile idea even if it leads to nowhere. It keeps the creative muse going.