I loved poetry as a little girl and in school, adored it as a student in Oxford, and read dozens, probably hundreds of volumes of poetry in graduate school, and for the two years after that.
Then I started writing prose, and, as happens in many lives, stopped reading poetry, though I never encountered a poem I didn’t read, with nostalgia, in magazines, like the New Yorker, for instance.
I remember telling the poet Ellen Bryant Voight at Bread Loaf about how much I had loved reading and writing it, but how with young children, my life was no longer quiet enough to listen to the rhythms of poetry and write it.
She said that as the children grew up, I would return to poetry.
This January after a hiatus of almost 19 years, I suddenly found myself writing poems again. And reading poetry.
It so calms me down and stills me. I read a few poems, and am filled again with the rhythms and excitement of language and the longing to write. It is the best preparation for writing that I know of. It is sublime.