I find writing poetry is a great way to jumpstart my creativity and hone my writing skills. In poetry, every word counts. Part of the process lies in finding the best possible way to communicate your ideas in the fewest possible words, rooting out the cliches and coming up with the most powerful images possible. The habit of writing this way in turn affects my mystery writing.


Does anyone here write poetry as well as mysteries? Any thoughts on this topic? Coincidentally, it's the subject of my latest blog post, "Seven reasons I love writing poetry,"and I invite you to visit.


Julie Lomoe's Musings Mysterioso

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Julie actually I completely booted the subject in my answer. I thought -- late night wine vapors -- it was asked if anyone read poetry for inspiration, not wrote it. In the event, yes there are musical references and influence in my writing. Butterfield and Tom Waits and Leonard Cohen in the night, old Sixties-to-Eighties in the daytime. Regarding Free Form Jazz: finished, sold, and will be released in July by Dundurn. Free Form Jazz has little to do with music -- I was referring to an unplanned, unrehearsed interview style used by cops Ray Tate and Djuna Brown, the protagonists in the series. Ray Tate refers to Djuna Brown's loose technique as akin to Miles Davis on the Bitch's Brew album -- you fly off out there and somehow bring it all back home. Back to the point -- or my confused interpretation of it: someone once told me she write her stories -- long short stories in her case -- by making each sentence a separate line. She read them to herself as though they were lines of poetry. This helped her find weaknesses in her writing and detect false notes. I tried it and it didn't work for me, but ...
Yes the free jazz reference brought Miles to mind. Also Ornette Coleman, Cecil Taylor and many others. Have to brag - I met Miles several times and he was actually nice to me. This was when I was a teenager visiting jazz clubs with my mother in the late 1950's. Miles actually once asked when I would get my braces off - I was hoping this meant he lusted after me, but he was interested in the technical aspects because his father was a dentist. I wrote a poem about this!

Julie Lomoe's Musings Mysterioso
I wrote copious amounts of poetry in my teens and twenties, and now I can't stand the stuff, my own or anyone else's. I'm not sure why -- I think that I may have turned into a story addict. I know that some poems have story lines, but not in the same way that novels do (novels I like, anyway). As to whether or not my poetry-writing years helped my prose writing, I think they did, but I can't prove it.

My attempts at poetry were so bad, it made me decide that prose was the way for me. It also gave me a test, if a piece of my fiction starts to read like some of my poetry, REWRITE!

Though I must admit that I am a whiz with the occasional dirty limerick. ;)
I've published two full length books and two chapbooks. Poetry helps all writing. It teaches compression and discipline, acuteness of observation, emotional nuance, music in language, you name it. Sartre thought everybody should start with poetry. I still write and publish poetry and I believe it has helped me with all the above as I apply it to crime fiction.
Mystery fiction (namely Robert B. Parker's Spenser) cemented my interest in poetry. I've written poetry and fiction as well as nonfiction articles since 2003, and for me, each feeds the others. I find each requires a different mindset, and shifting from one to another keeps me from getting stuck in ruts where I do no writing at all. I prefer writing anything to not writing.

Since 2008, I've co-edited The Lineup, an annual anthology of crime poetry. You can learn more about it here. Our next submission period is May 1 - July 31, 2010.
Fascinating responses continue to trickle in. I agree with those who say each form of writing feeds the other.

Some poets in Albany NY put on an annual WordFest. I just signed up for myself and my husband. Each poet or reader gets a 15- minute segment, and it runs from Friday night, April 16, 7pm until 7am the next morning. I'm signed up for 10:30pm. Having a time slot that long at a well-attended and festive event is a great motivator for writing more poetry! If anyone's intrested, I can send you the link. Anyone in any genre can sign up.

PS - I'm just about to hit 50,000 visits on my blog, and I'm giving away one of my books to whoever leaves a comment first after I hit 50K. If you go over there in the next couple of hours, you might just luck out!

Julie Lomoe's Musings Mysterioso


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