As I have said, I don’t consider myself a poet, though I have the temerity to lob a few poems in your direction on occasion. However, I have also said it is a necessary exercise if you write prose. It teaches both economy of style and the beauty of language.
I’ve also said that for most of us mortals there needs to be an event that inspires creation. Only geniuses like Mozart and Picasso and the Beatles can’t contain the mass of material shouting to be liberated from their minds.
In the case of a novelist, it might be a particularly profound event.
Poets can delight in the fleeting experience. Unless of course that poetry is epic as in the Iliad or Derek Wolcott’s ‘Omeros’. But short bursts of free verse may also derive from a less than fleeting experience, such as ‘the senseless beauty of sunrise’, as Harper Lee penned it. Poetry can be the product of the profound, as novels should be.
In the latter case, I would like to recommend ‘A Sunday in Purgatory’ by Henry Morgenthau III. He was a well known producer and writer for WGBH, Boston PBS. LATE in life, being now 100, he released a book of poetry. It is an intriguing book of free verse. Mostly, it is well crafted writing. And it is also of historical value for a few of the more prosaic pieces, since Morgenthau had a front row seat during the FDR administration, as his father was Secretary of the Treasury. Most intriguing are the poems that hint at a secret or secrets closely held. We all have a closet with skeletons. Perhaps they really aren’t all that bad or frightening, but we think they are. Perhaps, if we are fortunate enough to approach a centennial anniversary, the skeletons rattle a bit more loudly behind a small closed door in our mind.