Saturday, April 25, 2009

Poetry Quote of the Day: Margaret Atwood

"It simply happened, suddenly, in 1956, while I was crossing the football field on the way home from school. I wrote a poem in my head and then I wrote it down, and after that writing was the only thing I wanted to do. I didn't know that this poem of mine wasn't at all good, and if I had known I probably wouldn't have cared. It wasn't the result but the experience that had hooked me: it was the electricity."

Oh, Margaret, I know just what you mean. I wrote about some of my bad high school poetry here, and as I said in that post, what I remember most is that feeling of "writing words that matched who I was inside, instead of for a school assignment . . . I felt heady with the discovery that all that messy stuff in my heart and my head could erupt onto the page as words. I've never forgotten or gotten over that moment."

This post is part of my Poetry Quote a Day series for National Poetry Month.


  1. Hallelujah for the impulse to write, the electric feeling of putting words on paper!

  2. Wow, how cool to have been able to note the YEAR it happened!!

  3. I'm going to share this one with the teens in my writing workshop. I think they'll appreciate it.

  4. I've been saying something similar (but not NEARLY so eloquent) at my school visits as we write poem rough drafts together--it's not the end result. It's how much fun it is and the surprises that come out when we spill things out.


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