In order to grow as a writer you have to be willing to journey to strange places, unfamiliar territory. For many fiction writers, the world of poetry feels like a distant realm, often unreachable. Many of us have been trained to believe that there is towering wall that separates poetry and prose. You’re on one side or the other. Scaling that wall is harder than climbing Everest. In reality, nothing could be further from the truth.
That wall is roughly as tall as a french fry. Even I could climb over a french fry, as long as I wasn’t trying to eat it at the same time. When you climb the wall and enter the realm of poetry, you will soon realize that the fruit on the trees will feed your voice as a fiction writer. The papaya made out of poetry is extremely tasty when served in the middle of a landscape description or during a particularly poignant moment in your book. Squeezing a poetry lime on a novel will bring out the flavor of any dish you might be preparing in the kitchen of prose.
One need not write poetry to feast on its fruits. You can simply read poems in order to strengthen your voice, learning invaluable lessons about compression and clarity and color and verve. Keats, Yeats, Billy Collins, Maya Angelou, Langston Hughes, Elizabeth Bishop are waiting for you at the library. They’re eager to help you on your journey. So what are you waiting for? Go for it!