Poetic origin stories

In recognition of National Poetry Month, I am asking fellow poets to tell their poetic origin stories – why is poetry your medium of choice, what inspires your brain, where do you write best, do you live to write or write to live?  To get the dialogue started, I have written a short essay below (a poet writing an essay…this should be interesting) about my poetic evolution and encourage you to share your own origin stories by commenting on this post or on your blogs.   


For me, I started life as a artistically gifted child who used crayons to color and not devour.  My limitless curiosity was an endearing quality until it got me into trouble with my teachers, who thought I was a bouncing ball of energy not capable of focusing on more important kindergarten activities.  This aloofness was diagnosed as Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) and my parents started me on Ritalin at an early age to improve my performance in school.  While I was on the medication, my grades skyrocketed as did my ability to read and comprehend math and science.  But, even without these white pills, my artistic abilities have always been intact, no supplement required to stimulate creativity.  In middle school and high school, I took advanced placement english, math, science and art courses and excelled in everything, always straight A’s with a few stray B’s.  Once in college, it was hard for me to pick a major because I loved art but knew it wouldn’t pay the bills.  Science was more practical and career sensible, and since my dad was a biology teacher, it was more familiar to me growing up.  So, I pursued a major in Biology with a minor in Art History and Criticism to keep my left and right brain balanced.  During the Christmas of my Sophomore year, my dad bought me a digital camera and a new angle of my artistic side clicked and illuminated poetry.  Between classes, homework and studying, I would go out on long hikes in the forest to take photographs.  Upon returning from these refreshing retreats, I would upload each moment and capture it on my computer screen, adjusting the light and color to infuse uniqueness into the photographs.  While visual artists usually let their piece speak for itself, I endeavored to fill the picture frame beyond the title, date and medium, to capture and transfer my fleeting, nature-inspired emotions for others to experience timelessly, again and again, apart from and a part of the moment.  Photographs can stir up a plethora of feelings that are specific to the individual based on their past encounters with the subject matter.  If someone has yet to experience nature in its fullness, they cannot relate to or understand the photograph, as if dropped in the middle of nowhere without a compass – they stare blindly at the sun, screaming for a foothold or familiar reference point to gather their bearings.  At face-value there is something mysterious about the unknown that makes the eyes blink twice and the brain feed on its own thoughts.  But how thrilling to shed light on the inner workings of life, to find and preserve the universal pathos inside the frozen pixel or pastel!  Poetry was the perfect medium for me because I had a rabid curiosity born of a short attention span that trapped everything and nothing, my eyes picking clean moments and brain re-articulating bare bones.  I had never taken a poetry class, yet I felt compelled to tell stories in short, choppy sentences which dripped down the page in simple diction, requiring the viewer to lean in closer to examine the context of the poem of the painting and the painting of the poem.  I’ve been writing poetry now for 7 years but have since lost the desire to draw in my sketchbook.  The artistic right side of my brain has learned to coexist with the scientific left side by means of poetry, and through some short-term evolution, my vision has shifted focus from aesthetic form to the survivalist functionality of written word.  Still, shape poems are my beautiful mutants, silhouettes cast as they exist, creations crafted as statements that stand in and out of context.




About tyler4turtles

I am an avid photographer, poet, ecologist, bookworm, blogger, art enthusiast and runner who calls Montana home but lives in Oregon.
This entry was posted in Nature poetry and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Poetic origin stories

  1. Ok. I’m a little intimidated – but find that there is often a link creating poetry-mathematic-music dynamic. The maths/music is well known, but poetry also fits with that and I am always a little surprised by those who find it strange.
    I am now flying back to my nest to unravel my own little bit of history. Good questions. Got me thinking.

  2. el34ax7 says:

    I can never focus or sustain a thought longer than 16 lines, so I believe that’s why I gravitate towards poetry. Music, on the other hand, I can focus and sustain forever, but it’s quite hard to do alone. Once I came to see poetry and language as a different form of music (it’s all communication with sound), I began to relax into poetry more. As for any artistic abilities or exceptional qualities, I’ve never been viewed to have much of either. Sometimes, I simply like the way a word sounds, so I write.

    • Thank you for sharing your poetic origin, AB! I too gravitated towards poetry because of my short attention span. We are products of our culture which is high speed, in your face, at your fingertips with words mixed and abstracted through e-mail, Facebook and twitter, flying in and out of context. Over time, I have come to appreciate the sounds of words, rather than just their meanings. What a wonderful moment arises when it sounds true and has lyrical rhyme and rhythm! Keep up the great work, AB! Cheers, Tyler 🙂

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s