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


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.


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