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Today we have a guest-blogger for Poetics, and I let her introduce herself:

What Poet Inspired You?

Hello everyone! I’m tending bar today – for the first time! And to get this out of the way, what do you call me? My Google account I use to visit non-Word Press blogs is Hayes Spencer. This is a combination of several family names jumbled together to make this identity. I have a blog on WP. Kanzen Sakura. Those who follow that blog, often call me Kanzen which is fine. My given name is Toni. Either is fine. If interested in learning more about me, you can find out more on my About Page at my blog: http://kanzensakura.com/ I am most happy to be asked to do this and I am pumped.


To honor this auspicious occasion, the bar is stocked with several of the highest grades of sake: Junmai Ginjo and Junmai Daiginjo – nothing but the best for this crowd! And because I feel good conversation is the most intoxicating wine of all, I have set out on the bar along with the sakes, a big platter of my Southern Fried chicken, karaage chicken wings, deep fried tofu cubes with tonkatsu dipping sauce (a South meets East buffet). There is also a never ending pitcher of sweet iced tea. So make yourselves comfy. “Set and stay awhile” as we say in these parts. Make yourself at home. And talk – please talk.

Today, as in several previous Poetics, the theme is Inspiration. I wasn’t born writing poetry. I was inspired to write poetry. I forever owe a debt of thanks to our school librarian, Miss Minnie – a wise woman and apparently able to see into the future. When I went on my weekly journey to get reading material (I was currently on a diet of Emerson, Thoreau, and Dickinson), she handed me A Book. It was the poems of T.S.Eliot. I took it home with me and after thumbing through, decided on The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock. Intrigued by the character name, I began to read. Outside my bedroom window, was an old and patient oak tree. Many times, day or night, sun or snow or rain, I used the branch by my window to go across to that special place where the branches converged, forming a good seat for me. I went to my place and began to read. When I read the last line, it seemed light exploded behind my eyes and I almost fell from the tree.
“Till human voices wake us, and we drown”.

A couple of weeks earlier, my great-grandmother, my grandfather’s mother, had died. We had been sitting around in her bedroom on death watch. A few of her children began murmuring, breaking the silence. She opened her eyes, gasped several times, and died. When I read that last line, it said to be exactly what had occurred. I found a real part of my life in a poem. For several days I read that poem. I wanted to write poems that spoke to people. I wanted people to feel that light explode behind their eyes. I began to write poetry. I was just short of my 12th birthday.

I have not written any great poetry. I have not been published. I make no pretensions to being an intellectual or great creative person. I simply write the words that flow from inside me. I began to read Ginsberg, Burrows, Kerouac, Snyder, Issa, Basho. I went on the road, I howled, I went to poetry readings and listened and read my own. But T.S. Eliot inspired me to write. Lines from Prufock seem to pop up at any time and define what I am perceiving or what is going on in my life at any given time. This poem inspired me to write about life as I saw and felt it. My poetry of 1967 – 1976 is different just as I am different today. But that same spark ignites.

So. Which poet inspired you to write poetry? Whose style influenced you most? Do you incorporate any of their style, diction, imagery, etc. into your own poetry? Talk to me. Tell me. I have told who and which poem inspired me. Now please, write a poem about that poet and/or poem. And if you want to take the prompt even further, write the poem in the style of that poet.

For those of you joining us for the first time, below are some helpful steps. If you are joining us for the first time, let us know in the comments or a note with your poem so we can visit and encourage you. And as a reminder to those of you who participate regularly, please visit, read and comment on other poems. This is how we encourage and get to know each other in this community of poetics. People will be posting after you so be sure to come back. The link will be open for 33 hours. If you are a regular and haven’t been reading and commenting, please do so.

What to do:

  • Write your poem and post it to your blog.
  • Add a link to your poem via the ‘Mr Linky’ below.
  • This opens a new screen where you’ll enter your information. This is also where you choose links to read. Once you have pasted your poem’s blog URL and entered your name, click Submit. Don’t worry if you don’t see your name right away; try refreshing the page and your link should appear in the list.
  • Please do take time to read and comment on other people’s work to let them know it’s being read. It is this aspect of what we do here that builds our community and helps each of us to develop as poets.
  • Share your work and that of your fellow poets via your favorite social media platforms.
  • Above all – have fun!