I just happened to be reading the chapter on duplicity in Margaret Atwood’s On Writers and Writing, and I’d just reached her incisive commentary about Childe Roland To The Dark Tower Came, when up popped the On This Day email. And on this day (12th December) in 1889, Robert Browning died. I’m no aficionado of Browning, preferring the works of his wife and (I believe, or at least like to believe) a distant ancestor, Elizabeth Barrett-Browning.
Given the sinister nature of the poem, it was rather spooky that I never give Browning a second thought and there he is in my life twice within a few minutes.
Many writers draw inspiration from poetry and I can see why. Browning says in 1,700 words (ie. one day of Nano writing) more than many authors could say in 1,700 pages. Without Atwood’s help, I have to confess that I might have taken a while to get there. But as I did get there (to a point of understanding or the dark tower?), I now realise why Robert Browning is so greatly appreciated. His fan club has just increased by one.
I have added ‘derive more creative inspiration from poetry’ to my ‘to-do’ list for next year.