Bird Face Wendy

Things relevant to reading, writing, publishing or marketing teen fiction.

Tap Into Poetic Description

on October 8, 2014

I used to think that as a fiction writer I had nothing to gain from imitating poetry.

But a few yeas ago I made a list of descriptions that appealed to me, taken from an old volume titled Poems to Remember.  It looked to be a student’s textbook, copyright in the 1960s—one I’m sure  my main character, Wendy, would enjoy today. Unfortunately, I didn’t note from which poems the selected phrases came. But I knew they were gems worth keeping.

Lately I’ve noticed several of these phrases in new prose, and I wonder if the fiction authors using them realize that these old but still clever descriptions may have originated in poetry. Or maybe the poets borrowed them from even older prose–who knows. (No poetry intended.)

Abandon (oneself) to delight

The wind’s teeth

Foolish and delicious faith

Stand still as death

A monstrous sea

Silver dawn

Frightened beads (eyes)

Thunder’s voice

Like privacy in a snowy night


Those are only a few from my list.

I’ll be the first to admit that not all poetry appeals to me, but there’s bound to be poetry to inspire almost any fiction writer. Whether you write historical romance or edgy urban fiction, find a poet of yesterday or today who speaks your language.

Do you have a favorite poet or remember a favorite poem from your schooldays? Has it inspired your fiction writing?

2 responses to “Tap Into Poetic Description

  1. […] people that I enjoyed lately are Poems to Remember, which inspired my most recent personal blog post, and The Children’s Treasury of Classic Poetry. I’m sure there are many other good […]


  2. […] you know I have great love and respect for poetry. To improve my fiction, I remind myself to tap into poetic description, and I encourage other prose writers to do the […]


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