WRITING TIP: Open to influence as support, not as suppression

writing tipTrends come and go, and they have nothing to do with our soul’s need for expression. When what we want to write doesn’t fit with current tastes, it can remain suppressed. This is where we need the support of other writers who we resonate with, whether or not we’ve ever met. Poet Philip Larkin wrote at a time when the trend in poetry was intellectual and modernist — not at all his sensibility. In the book Philip Larkin, Bruce Martin writes that Larkin learned from Thomas Hardy “that his own life, with its often casual discoveries, could become poems, and that he could legitimately share such experience with his readers. From this lesson [came Larkin’s] belief that a poem is better based on something from ‘unsorted’ experience than on another poem or other art.” This insight became the hallmark of Larkin’s much-admired poetry. One example: In his poem Days, Larkin starts with the simple question, “What are days for?” and answers it in a way that opens a window into how his mind works.