What Inspired Your Love of Poetry?

what-inspired-your-love-of-poetry_

When I was 9 years old my parents bought me The Golden Treasury of Poetry by Louis Untermeyer.

The treasury was a selection of more than 400 poems, written through every great period of English Literature, from Chaucer and Shakespeare to Ogden Nash and T.S. Eliot. It became a favourite pet, following me everywhere.  At night- time I would sneak it under the bed covers and read the poems by torchlight till the early hours.

Forty-five years on the book is still with me, in pristine condition, and I am once again enjoying reading childhood favourites like Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s, Paul Revere’s Ride and The Courtship of the Yonghy-Bonghy-Bo by Edward Lear.

Looking back, it was this book that started my passion for poetry; a love affair that has been like any long-term relationship, full of laughter, tears and long periods where we haven’t spoken.

Over the years I have fallen in and out of love with poetry, and poets too many to mention. I have collected poetry books, gotten rid of them only to buy them again, but this book is the one that has remained in the fold since 1972.

I don’t know why it became a favourite and why it has survived so long. What I do know is it started a love for poetry still burning in me to this day.

What started or inspired your love and passion for poetry? Was it a particular book, poet, poem or situation that lit the fire?

I’d love to hear your stories.

58 Comments

Oh my, you’ve sparked a memory, Davy! My grandmother gave me “A Child’s Garden of Verses”, by Robt Louis Stevenson when I was about 9 or 10–I read it over and over, wondering how someone could write so magically. It wasn’t till high school that I began writing my own poetry–and it was a particular teacher, a wonderful man, who told me I had natural writing talent. It was as though he put a candle in my hand, by speaking those words and believing in me. So I credit my grandma and Mr Page (true name) for whatever good poetry/writing I birth now in my 60’s.

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After finishing school I read a little book “Fifteen Poets” and “Lives of Poets” a little after. I think that was the true beginning of my love for poetry. And I still love Palgrave’s Golden Treasury.

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Awwww. Thank you for sharing this wonderful experience you had with poetry, Davy! I am particularly envious (in a good way) that at a young age you’ve been introduced to poetry. I believe when I was in elementary, I memorized I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud by William Wordsworth. Since then I’ve written numerous poems in my native language which is Filipino/Tagalog. Since then I’ve been fond of rhymes! But that was now love yet between poetry and I.

I have used poetry in my love letters before. HAHA Those were the days.) But I am not in love with it just yet. It’s just an instrument.

And then came last year when I was introduced to great poets and lovely poetic prompts. There, I knew what falling in love with poetry is. ❤

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Wow memory lane Davy….my mom inspired me to write…she’s a brilliant writer/teacher/coach…..

She had made me won several writing competions and even on stage performances…she expects nothing but the best from me…her theory ” you are my daughter; for that you are great”…

And when i was in high school i became dedicated to writing feature stories and poems then came college i enrolled BS Journalism …

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Yours is fascinating insight into poetic early inspiration. For me I think it was my mother who went about the house doing her work reciting verses she had learnt by heart at school. See my own poem on this ‘A Mother’s Legacy’, – my blog on August 31st this year.
Also over the years, two inspirational teachers of Eng.Lit.

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    That must have been like having your own poetry radio station going on in the background, and to have that learning continued by two excellent teachers is a joy to hear. Thanks for sharing this personal story Roland and I will check out your poem.

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There was no particular book that sparked my love of poetry but a person, my Gran. She always encouraged me to write everything and anything. She is and always will be my biggest fan because she loves even the bad things I write (so unfortunately she’s not my first port of call when it comes to feedback). She aspires for me to be the writer she always wanted to be, and I wouldn’t mind that either haha!

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    It is great to hear that you had someone in your life who could foster and fire your love for poetry. As you say it is good to have an avid fan, it keeps you going through the hard times. Thanks for taking time to read the post and taking time out to get involved in the conversation.

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Wonderful post and beautiful story of inspiration! I’ve been journal writing for 30 years now as part of a spiritual, healing practice. But a year ago is when I began writing poetry regularly. I received extra encouragement on a retreat where our poems were turned into impromptu songs. Magical! Someone there encouraged me to join a poetry group. Feeling too shy, I passed, yet was inspired to keep writing! Now, since I began posting in May, I’ve hit 100 poems! Still can’t believe. It’s amazing what a little positive feedback can do!

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My first memory of poetry was in primary school in Kansas, when my teacher read poems to the class. I remember her reading a Robert Frost poem, The Pasture, which had the phrase “you come too”. There was something about that invitation that made me realise that poems were something special.

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I love this post! There are three books that are ALWAYS with me: “Le comte de Monte Cristo” (Dumas), “Cyrano de Bergerac” (Rostand) and “Rimas y leyendas” (Bécquer, Spanish poetry). Thanks for this article! Have a good weekend.

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Oh my! Edward Lear! You just mentioned the man who introduced me to poetry.. It was his “The Owl and the Pussycat” that made me read poetry ever since grade school. It was Shakespeare’s Sonnets, however, that made me fall in love with writing poetry back in high school. ❤

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Apocalypse Now. Marlon Brando reading T.S.Elliott’s The Hollow Men. A poem that quotes Conrad’s Heart of Darkness as a preface. Which is the story that the film is based on. Inspired me to read Conrad and Elliott.

“Let us go now you and I…”

Great Post
Martin

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