What Sparks Poetry

Reading Prose

In our series Reading Prose, we asked poets to share with us how the experience of reading prose, fiction, non-fiction, theory, or poetics, has sparked the writing of poetry or affected how they read poetry.

“Explore What Sparks Poetry” is made possible with funding from The Virginia Commission for the Arts.

“Home Ward (Seoul, Korea, 2012)” approximates the physical layout of a room. My memory of the real room, one of the last where my grandfather stayed, is marked by the concentration of patient beds in a rectangular space that, if empty, I would have considered a wide hallway.

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The bowl she fills in the wake of his failure is an artifact fused with hurt and irony. The rose petals—perennial symbols of love and romance—obscure a collection of dead pollinators: no honey is about to be made by this meeting of flower and bee, at this hive of an art colony. As with most arresting images, the arrival of the bowl re-angles how I consider parts of the poem already read: in this case, setting, which is now made ironic: art colonies intend cross-pollination, fertilization, and bloom, not sting and death. The bowl of rose-covered dead bees is a clear, precise expression of rebuke delivered straight to the composer’s front door: intimate and elegant, a painter’s speech-without-saying.

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