In the last few days I have found myself trying to analyse how (and if) my reading patterns affect my writing. I have written very little poetry in the past couple of months, and while it's true that this might have a direct correlation with certain events that have occurred in my life recently, I found myself also wondering if it is to do with what, and how much, I am reading.
I know for instance that I write more poetry if I am reading poetry - but not just any poetry, it has to be something really inspiring. In fact some poetry collections are so inspiring that they send me running for my pencil an notebook. It is like some kind of weird alchemy - I don't know how it works but it does - in the same way that morning pages can up my creativity levels. I have been reading poetry though, and quite a bit, but none of it has really given me that poetry high that makes me want to write. The last two collections that did that were "Raptors" by Toon Tellegan and "Autobiography of Red" by Ann Carson. Nothing I have read over the summer has come close to them sadly.
The other thing is that I have been reading a lot of fiction - both novels and short stories. I am reading more than usual because I am in the Summer Reads reading circle, but I am reading other books as well those. I don' t know if reading a lot of fiction stops me writing poetry, or if I am choosing to read a lot of fiction as some sort of escapism from real life. I know that when I went through a prolific poetry phase last year I was hardly reading any fiction at all, but that could just be coincidental of course.