Thoughts from poet E. Ethelbert Miller, poet David Kirby, and humor writer, Jenny Lawson:
“I think the question I should answer is – why do I continue to write?
At the age of 63 I see myself wanting to write more. I look around and I see many of my friends preparing for retirement. I don’t want to retire from writing. There is so much pleasure one receives from language and the act of creating something that can be shared with a reader or listener. I always saw a poem as being a gift from one heart to another.
When I started writing I wanted my work to have some influence on changing social conditions. I wanted to write poetry that people could take into their lives and use; I still believe this. Martin Luther King, Jr. was a believer in the Beloved Community and the idea of a common language rooted in love is something I embrace.
We live in a world filled with hatred and too many wars. Genocide is a word that unfortunately has been translated into too many languages.
I write with the hope that I can bring beauty into the world. Many of my recent poems have been love poems and poems about intimacy
and the exploration of the erotic. It is difficult to love just one person.
It’s like trying to find the right word but constantly needing to do revision. Yet, as writers we do the heavy-lifting. If the Beloved Community does not exist then we must bring it into existence. This is why I write, this is why I live and what I live for.” – E. Ethelbert Miller
“I don’t really use the word “inspiration” and don’t know any writers who do. I think of a poem as a little thinking machine; that may sound a little abstract, but the thoughts it helps me think are often pretty noisy and symphonic. For instance, recently I saw an Indian gentleman touch another’s feet. Why? It was obviously a sign of respect, but what does that gesture mean? Eventually I talked to some Indian friends and found out, but along the way, I speculated about the nature of love, sorrow, regret, and a dozen other things. So I look for little crunchy moments like that. I’m happy with the way things are going so far, so check with me in a few months, and I’ll let you know how the poem turns out.” – David Kirby
“I have serious anxiety disorder and writing gave me an outlet for communication before I found therapy and drugs. Writing is my drug of choice. My favorite authors are Ray Bradbury, Neil Gaiman and Dorothy Parker but I think my own writing is actually most inspired by essayists and humorists. David Sedaris, Nora Ephron, Jen Lancaster, David Thorne and Allie Brosh are all amazing.” – Jenny Lawson