Aside: my influences

Just going to take a break from straight up penning poetry to talk about my influences. It should be no surprise to anyone who noticed by meter and simple rhyme scheme that Alfred E. Housman is my biggest one. It’s a very simple scheme, and yet he draws so much power from it. I just red one about a man pondering his deceased love while walking a grove with another. It was beautiful, elegiac, and haunting. (I don’t think it has a title, but it’s XXVI in his “A Shropshire Lad” book.)

Two lovers looking to be wed;
And time shall put them both to bed,
But she shall lie with earth above,
And he beside another love.

Of course, my all time favorite poem is “For An Athlete Dying Young.” I’ve pretty much committed the middle verse to memory:

Eyes the shady night has shut
Cannot see the record cut,
And silence sounds no worse than cheers
After earth has stopped the ears

Edgar Allan Poe is another favorite. “Eldorado” has perhaps my favorite rhyme scheme:

Gaily bedight,
A gallant knight,
In sunshine and in shadow,
Had journeyed long,
Singing a song,
In search of Eldorado.


Beyond his more popular poems, though, Poe is still uniformly solid. Recently, I read “For Annie,” and it is intense. It has the power of a modern rock song, in my opinion.

But my heart it is brighter
Than all of the many
Stars in the sky,
For it sparkles with Annie—
It glows with the light
of the love of my Annie—
With the thought of the light
Of the eyes of my Annie.

And when I’m in a nautical mood, I definitely unwind with Coleridge’s “Rime of the Ancient Mariner” and Longfellow’s “The Wreck of the Hesperus.”

Long story short, I’m in the romantic poetry camp.

EDIT: I forgot one more influence: my poem “Internet, O Internet!” was largely inspired by by Walt Whitman’s “Pioneers! O Pioneers!” I included a rhyme scheme, though, because as much as I love the poem it is also secretly tricky to execute. Whitman was fantastic in pairing words that didn’t rhyme but still felt like it. (Plus that’s a heck of a catchy chorus.)


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