Wednesday, May 28, 2008

The Birth of Poets

A young Belarusian poet named Valzhyna Mort (Martynava) was featured in the recent issue of P&W. From that article came this great line... "Someone said we're born a poet from this wound inflicted on us by other poets' poetry."

In terms of my own experience, I feel a real kinship with this statement. There are a number of poets whose work has touched me in such fashion, but I suspect if I were to recall one single poem, from on poet that had this kind of impact upon me, strangely enough it would be The Blue Dress by Sharon Olds. Remarkably strange I suppose for a guy since it is written in the persona of a young girl and the main prop being a blue dress. Yet the poem speaks to relationships and lack of relationships and the very first time I read it there was a real visceral connection to this poem. This was not the first such instance, there are works particularly by Plath, and Sexton which impacted me, but perhaps the strongest I can attribute to a single poem was the Olds poem.

I wonder how many others writing poetry can point to a specific poem that profoundly inflicted a wound so great that did or could have been the birth of their own inclination to writing poetry?
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