One More Reason Poetry Matters

There’s a lovely post on SheWrites.com by Marisel Vera entitled The Criticism That Changed My Life. I like this:

Cristina told us how whenever she is at an impasse in her writing, if she turned to a volume of poems, somehow she would be sure to open to a page where a word or phrase would catch her imagination and inspire her writing.

But I love this:

I’ve also found that it can help me learn to empathize with a character.  For example, one of my protagonists in my novel IF I BRING YOU ROSES is a factory worker.  I chose WHAT WORK IS and THE MERCY by Phillip Levine to help me understand how a man feels working at a menial job.

That’s brilliant and I’m so going to steal the idea of poetry as a direct line into a viewpoint I want to write but might not feel I have the authority to. (For more on authority read Malinda Lo’s post What I learned on the Diversity Tour, number 3: “The other issue that came up repeatedly was the question of who has the ability to write books with diverse characters”).

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