You Write What You Read

I remember once, many years ago, I was watching a filmed staging of Chekov’s Uncle Vanya on TV, when I suddenly got an idea for a poem. I heard a few words of dialog: “We still have the orchards.” I grabbed a notepad, and in time I had a poem. And sometimes I find inspiration for writing in music. Which is nice.

Generally speaking, though, the only way to work and think in a certain art form – or business or technical frame of mind – is to be in the form or frame of mind before I start trying to create anything.

For example, the best way to prepare to write poetry is to read poetry. The best way to write fiction is to read it. And it needs to be in the right genre, don’t you think? If your muse sounds like Robert Frost, don’t be reading Charles Bukowski first. If you want to write something like Anne Tyler, it won’t help to be reading Stephen King.

I need to keep reminding myself what it is I want to do and who the particular writers are who inspire me to do that.

In the case of this poem, I guess it was Chekov. But who are you reading? And what is their relationship to what you’re doing to express yourself? Leave comment, if you like. Or send me an email.



Such a lovely autumn.
We have the orchards
and stars
when the clouds are parted;
the stars we pass to
each other
hand to hand,
as if they were warm.

Stars in my mother’s arms,
brother’s eyes, father’s
voice and resting on
the painted water where I
sleep; shining through
the music of my life:
the adagio of any day at dawn.

Stars, eyes, eyelids
shut against the heat
and stroke of time,
smoke and death,
or just the sea
and its terrible salt.

Stars melt, years pass,
as magic lanterns
reflect the firmament
of stars in an endless row
of nights;  weeping, shining
in the orbits of our days.



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Shine by Kyle Kimberlin is licensed
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1 thought on “You Write What You Read

  1. Another fine piece of Kimberlinic art, Chekov be damned. We don't need dead sour Russians as soup-starters, but sometimes it doesn't hurt. I'm reading Micheal Palin's New Europe and it hasn't formed one poem even though it's simply and elegantly written and realized. We pick up seeds for poems everywhere, and sometimes in other's writings. This poem of yours may have been flinted by Uncle Vanya, but it snagged its own rockets and hurtled skyward unfettered on its own. Warm stars and terrible salt. Love it. 🙂

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