Sunday, August 31, 2008

What's My Inspira-a-tion?

I can't help but remember that at one point I did feel "inspired" to write. I generally hate it when people talk about being inspired, because it makes it sound so easy to be a poet. I think it's hard. I don't just get "inspired" and then let the words flow.

The words don't flow. Not usually, anyway. They kinda randomly spill out like legos or slightly hardened globs of Play-Doh. And then I shove, stick, and mush them into different configurations using whatever skills I've picked up from other poets along the way, and then somehow I decide it's done. Or as a poet once said, it's abandoned.

When I was younger, before I went to school for poetry, my main poet inspirations were William Blake and Robert Frost. However, I also believe that Toad the Wet Sprocket was a major influence. I listened to All I Want, Hold Her Down, and Butterflies soooo many times on my little Sony Walkman. I think the songs evoked a lot of emotions within me that I spent most of my days trying to supress. I was rather quietly and ashamedly dealing with deceit and abuse, and those songs were almost like an introduction to therapy, in that they allowed me to actually feel.

I think I sound angry at poetry right now. After teaching so many freshmen composition and advanced writing for various professions classes, it's like I've lost my ear for music. What's funny is that when I say music, I'm really thinking of the rhythms of poetry, but when I think of the rawness or vulnerability of content, I'm thinking of Toad and other lyrics I've enjoyed over the years.

Lately, I've been listening to Cold Play--mainly Viva La Vida and Fix You--and I think it may be helping.