The Influence of Poetry

When I was a child I remember being required to memorize and then recite certain poetic pieces. I still can recall a few lines: “The owl and the pussycat went to sea in a beautiful pea green boat…” As I got older I remember reading the “Rime of the Ancient Mariner,” Edgar Allen Poe’s “The Raven,” and the works of  Frost, Wordsworth, Keats, Dickinson, and the Brownings, to name a few.

We had to study iambic pentameter, free verse, and fun words like onomatopoeia and alliteration. And although poetic verse was sometimes fun and exciting, I wasn’t drawn to copy them in style. I liked to hear them, but I didn’t find them easy to write.

Yet when I look over the prose I have written these past few years, I can’t help but find a certain flow to them. It’s not rhyme, but it’s rhythm, where the words flow and bounce and move along the page, carrying the reader along to an ultimate conclusion.

I may not be a poet, but those early experiences of learning poetry have impacted my writing beyond what I could have ever imagined. So thank you, all my English teachers of long gone days, for letting poetry influence my life.

Contributed by Catherine L. Osornio

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One response to “The Influence of Poetry

  1. Yes, Catherine, the poetry we groaned about being force-fed to us is sometimes the longest lasting literary remembrance. Mine is Wordsworth’s “I wandered lonely as a cloud…” It still touches me.

    Shirley

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