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”).