What makes poetry?

For me, I need to be in the right mood. When I was communting and working regular hours, the journey back home on the train often did it: I was quite tired and my mind was not focusing on immediate tasks of the day (that sensitive meeting at ten), but was reflective. If I say that I wrote some poems in a trance-like state, I don’t mean anything that would have worried my fellow-commuters, though they might have noticed I seemed to be thinking hard. Maybe the travelling helped too: I’ve always been excited by the sense of travel and change, and for me that was associated with a sense of other worlds, of other kinds of existence.

Being tired helps: you are less controlled and controlling.

Music can do it – but for me, only classical orchestral. I’m a great fan of folk rock and Johnny Cash, but it’s Sibelius and Bruckner, Nielsen and Rachmaninov, that take me into a mood where poetry can be created.

The silence of a Quaker meeting can do it, as can silent lone contemplation but perhaps not so well.

Being outdoors in open country can help a poem form, or coming back after such an outing if I have time and space to think about it. Rain on the windows can be magic and the sea always is.




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1 Comment

  1. Emotional excess….that what does it for me. Sometimes a particular event can start something whirring in my head…..


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