What Sparks Poetry

The Poems of Others

What Sparks Poetry is a serialized feature in which we invite poets to explore experiences and ideas that spark new poems.

In the series The Poems of Others, we’ve invited poets to pay homage to a poem that first sparked poetry in them—a poem they read that gave them permission to write poetry or the idea that they might write it—a poem that led them down the path to becoming a poet.

Each essay is accompanied by a writing prompt based on an observation about the poem.

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Catch Up on Issues of What Sparks Poetry

Exaltation and praise is fertile land in poetry. To be the subject of a poem means a person, moment, or thing is significant to the poet, so they in turn write lines worthy enough to be called poetry, lifting up that beauty, finding its truth.

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Her situation was real, she worked to a set of constraints, but as she did so was remaking what she found. She wasn’t pretending she didn’t live in a real circumstance, but nor was she under any illusion that her circumstance was enough.

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When we asked Poetry Daily Editorial Board Member Ilya Kaminsky to write about a book that was important to him in 2021 for our “Books We’ve Loved” series, he replied he couldn’t pick just one. This is the second installment of Ilya Kaminsky’s notes on some of the many books he’s loved in the past year.

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Spare, unselfconscious, nearly transparent, Augustine’s poems reach out to the things of this world like a ship whose constant soundings describe its own location.

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