Charles Simic Muses on Why He Still Writes Poetry…And So Should You

While browsing through my Twitter feed I came across a link to an inspiring piece by Pulitzer Prize winning poet Charles Simic entitled “Why I Still Write Poetry“.

Girl writing

The title alone brought to mind my own thoughts giving up on this childhood fascination of mine.  I mean, who really writes and reads poetry these days.  I mean I’m 41 years old, have a full time job with decent pay, have a family, and bills to pay.

Surely, I’m beyond poetry.

But the call of the muse still beckons me to listen.  Though I try to ignore her.  She gently whispers.  Encouraging me to return.  To write again.

So, this piece by the famous Charles Simic is quite timely.  Mr. Simic, now in his seventies, still enjoys writing.  Even though family members and friends are shocked that he still does.

Why do you write?  Surely it isn’t for the pay.  Or the fame.  Or for the grand accolades from friends and family.

Again.  Why do you write?

There are times that I write simply because I must.  You’ve felt it.  The words bubble up in you like a covered pot pushing on the lid.  Spilling over into your thoughts and trickling off of your tongue.

There are other times I write for the challenge of it all.  Annually, I subject myself to the April “poetry month” challenges — looking to stretch my creative wit.  And like clockwork I putter out about a third of the way through (just browse back a few posts in this blog to see my “30 in 30” effort.

But we still continue to write.

In the article, Charles Simic states:

The mystery to me is that I continued writing poetry long after there was any need for that. My early poems were embarrassingly bad, and the ones that came right after, not much better. I have known in my life a number of young poets with immense talent who gave up poetry even after being told they were geniuses. No one ever made that mistake with me, and yet I kept going.

What struck me most about this article is that though he is an acclaimed poet, he never was really told that he was.  And yet he kept going.

Poet, do not give up on your art.  Write because, and only because, you love it.  No, better yet, write because you like to.  You like the act of putting together a series of words, like Mr. Simic says, like a chess match.  Each word placement a challenge.

Write because you long to share that which is on your mind, in your soul, in your heart.

Write for us.

Image courtesy ZaCky on Flickr

Will Brown

Will Brown is a poet, blogger, and a scanner of all things new. He also currently blogs at Help Desk Helps where he discusses tips and issues affecting the help desk professional.

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