"A poem begins as a lump in the throat, a sense of wrong, a homesickness, a lovesickness."
Those who've known me long enough know that I used to run a community of (mostly) young poets on msn who (for some mad reason) looked to me as their guide in the world of poetry. I used to get frequent emails asking me what they should do about their lack of inspiration and where it is I get my ideas from.
My inspiration can come from anything. I have an odd poetic process I think. I'll go through periods of intense writing where I'll write, say, 30 poems and then I'll abandon a solid 25 of those as "something I may look back on one day." The precious 5 survivors will then get tweaked and modified a few times as I try to make them as good as I possibly can, mostly just for practice.
It's important to note that these poems, the ones I come back to and fiddle with so endlessly, aren't necessarily the best ones. Even once they're done, they probably aren't. I've written some great stuff that I just relegate to non-existence because I find them too introspective, personal, irrelevant or referential to see the light of day in any public forum. They've served their purpose in that I felt I needed to write them and now they're done, they can stay that way. My dirty little secrets.
Which leads me nicely to the reason I write and, ultimately, where it all comes from. For me, Robert Frost was dead on with his statement. I write because, often, I find I have no other way to express my joy, anger, hurt, loneliness or craziness. At least not in any meaningful or sensible way. That's why I started. I bottled too much up and it was destroying my mind. Every word I write comes from those genuine feelings of love, pain, happiness or regret that we all feel every day. I think those feelings and finding the right way to express them are the making of an artist, be that through words, brushstrokes, photographs, sculptures, music or any of the other wonderful ways people choose to express themselves.
If you're looking for inspiration, try thinking about something you've lost or something you have that you couldn't bear to lose. Something you've seen or experienced that has brought you joy or sorrow. Those feelings will be much easier to express than writing about a generic poetic topic and the honesty that you express through those feelings will be so much more appealing to those that you choose to allow access to your work.
I used three words in a row that ended with -ic there. This pleases me more than the whole of the rest of this blog.