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A group of authors writing interesting posts weekly and interacting with readers.
I am a poet, I have been writing as long as I can remember (and, according to my sisters even before that). In my early years, I was treated to the rhymes of Mother Goose and Dr. Seuss and I was enthralled. I love them both and have been influenced by them in my writing.
You would think I would always have wanted to read poetry since I wrote it. Well, that is not the case at all. In grade school, we were exposed to poets like Robert Frost and Elizabeth Barrett Browning. I was not impressed, and when the teachers told us what the poems supposedly were saying...I was totally lost. I did not like the style they wrote in and what I thought they said was not even close to what I was supposed to be seeing. By the time I had to read the poems about "How do I love thee" and "Lovely as a Tree" I had learned to memorize what the teacher said was happening. Subsequently, I began avoiding any poetry that I was not ordered to read.
Luckily for me, when I entered high school, I had a wonderful English teacher. Mr. Hagberg was different than any of my previous teachers. He taught us what a poem meant was what it made you feel or think. He said it did not really matter what the poet was thinking at the time it was written. We were encouraged to read and explain how a poem affected us and why we felt that way. There were NO WRONG ANSWERS! The door to enjoying other poets was swung open for me!
My first love in high school was the writings of William Blake. Being a big fan of all the large cats, "The Tyger" was the lure that captured me. I could visualize the creator as he blended so much beauty and grace with enormous strength and unbridled viciousness. When it referred to "The Lamb", I went to read it and noticed how he wrote gently, completely opposite of this poem. For me, the imagery was tangible and realistic. The dual nature of the creator made evident just by the descriptions of two of his creatures.
Blake's influence on me did not stop there. Many of his poems reflected the world before his eyes. "London" had me walking the streets of England in the late 1700s. I saw the dismal living conditions, felt the despair. His obvious references to funerals in connection to situations that would have been considered blessings to the rich, instilled in my soul the anguish felt by the lowly citizens.
While writing this I have come to realize that I write like him. Both of us write what we see and feel, without concern for the social norms. We speak from our hearts and souls. Truth is truth, no matter how messy or how much pain it creates when faced.
© Cindy J. Smith
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