Poetic Influences and a Mini Quiz

There’s a wonderful challenge for you over at dVerse Poets Pub, should you choose to accept it. We are being asked to talk about our poetic influences, which poets we most admire and then to write a poem in the style of that poet.

If you’re like me, it’s hard to narrow it down to just one. However, there are three styles of poetry I enjoy. For the sake of simplicity, I’ve crystallised each style into a single poet I am particularly fond of. Here are the three, with examples of my own poetry written in their style. See if you can match the poets I’m trying to emulate with the poems below. [I may have mentioned them previously on this blog.] Please guess in the comments below and all will be revealed later. I’ve given some additional visual clues to help.

1) The Anguish of Modern Existence

From free-picture.net
From free-picture.net

Between a June and forgotten September, we once were heroes.

Between the sea and sand, we once knew flight

And heady air of freedom; or all the giddy brightness of the sun.


Once there was a glimmer… and then we lost.

Once there was a brief ambition… drowned in polite nonentity of words.

First we had coherence, the fullness, the whole –

But we heeded it not and mocked,

O O O O that whining rag…

Thinking the circle is easily closed once again.

Siamo sempre singulari and we were left with snippets

odd scraps to fight over, amour de mon enfance,

all but forgotten.


Once love dwelled in this unreal city.

Now its waxen wings are melted and its feet ground to dust.


2) Sensuous Mediterranean:

From Unesco.org
From Unesco.org

Please – just this once – take my hand and lead me to the terrace

to bathe in silken moonrays, drink in the shush of trees,

laugh softly at the mewl of plaintive cats

and trace that whimper within us,

eyes sinking in each other’s.


For once switch off reason and indulge in full moon madness,

dance among the giants of Poesy and leave

algorithms, measurements to tremble just a little at fear of your neglect.


And if you can’t lead, follow, join me in this folly,

savour every twinkle of fairy-silver dust.

As I ascend, so fly me with eyes open to wonder

and planetary music our only constant guides.

Just be the limbs atingle

Just feel the drip of sweat between us

Oh sweetness

of stolen blue moon incantation.


3) The world in a raindrop:

From Gardenhistorymatters.com
From Gardenhistorymatters.com

Our first drink at the corner pub.

I sit on my hands

to keep them from stroking your cheeks.


After two nights of febrile wakefulness,

wrapped in the smell of the other:

are you sure you meant to say that?


Chopping up the onions

I can still pretend the tears

have nothing to do with anything.


Two weeks of sun in the mountains

but mud is on the forest floor

and not a glimpse of daffodils.

49 thoughts on “Poetic Influences and a Mini Quiz”

  1. oh heck – that last one… and the last line sums it up perfectly and throws in all the emotion… so very interesting on the different styles as well…

  2. Wonderful examples.. and I really have to add I love the last one too.. but for me to even guess who they are inspired of.. but i have to say that you really have managed to give three entirely different styles of poetry.. I find that writing in the style of another poet usually is a good exercise in stretching my poetic muscles… I sense a reference to Icarus in the first … but the poet beats me.

  3. Nobody is guessing! I guess I shall step forward and take the risk. Before I do so, all three poems strike chords with me. The different styles each shine. I like #1 and #3 the best equally with #2 coming in a close #2. But I am guessing, in order – T.S.Eliot, Allen Tate, and Basho (or Issa). And I apologize in advance for guessing badly.

    1. Well done for being brave! Not bad at all – two out of three right! Well, the last one is certainly Japanese, and could easily have been Basho – I had Tawara Machi in mind. I knew you’d recognise the first one, being such a T. S. Eliot fan yourself.
      The second one is still open to guesses though…

        1. Yes, they are, but somewhat linked, as is the case with ‘Salad Anniversary’. But since Machi herself was inspired by Basho and Issa, it’s very astute!

  4. Wow, you worked your can off with these three tributes; kudos for churning out the most work for the prompt! I, actually like #2 the best; love the lines /laughs softly at the mewl of plaintive cats/and trace that whimper within us/. I would have gone with Eliot on #1, & #2 feels like Neruda. A grand job done on all three though!

    1. To make up for all of those times when I didn’t link to a prompt, I suppose… To be fair, some of them are rewrites (but with a more obvious nod to the style of that particular poet). Neruda is a very good guess – and very close!

  5. For me it is hard to comment on three poems at once, especially as each is different…but I like each of them & admire the idea of writing poems in three different poetry styles. I could say that of all three the third is my favorite.

    1. I know, I don’t expect comments on all – this was just a bit of fun. The third one is Japanese tanka style (slightly less brief than the haiku). It seems to be the winner so far – so we all like succinct?

    1. Of course, seasons are so important in classic Japanese poetry. This prompt really inspired me – although, to be honest, I did have some initial poems to play around with, and then just exaggerated them to fit the different style.

  6. I like these very much but have no idea who the inspirational poets were (I am rather unschooled in such things.)

  7. These are most interesting Marina—sadly I can’t fit this in just now, if I can manage it before the expiry date I will 🙂

  8. I would not have guessed but this has nothing to do with your writing and everything to do with my poor abilities at this game. The first poem is my favorite of all three. But they are all very good.

    1. It’s not easy and I didn’t mean to put anybody on the spot, just wanted to show the diversity of modern poetry. The first visual clue is a wasteland, pointing to T. S. Eliot, the second is Alexandria harbour, pointing to Cavafy, and third is a Japanese garden, pointing to Tawara Machi, who led to renaissance of the classic Japanese tanka in the 1980s, when she published her modern collection of tankas, Salad Anniversary.

  9. I admire each one, each with their poetic theme and inspiration ~ My favorite is the second one, very sensual indeed Marina ~ Very well done with the challenge ~

    1. Ah, I thought the second might be more your style. It is based on Cavafy, 20th century Greek poet living in Alexandria (the visual clue is an image of Alexandria’s harbour area there).

  10. i don’t know about poets in formal ways.. but i suppose here one shows that poetry works best for finding wholes of emotion of life.. seeing loves that are lost.. and seeking love in a heArt.. that can only fully be expressed.. in spirit of poetry flow.. from one.. heart.. in true..:)

    1. I have to admit I’m usually led by emotions too, rather than deliberately using a style or constraint. But sometimes it’s good to experiment and play around with things.

  11. I don’t know who the poet is but I do like the flowing, poetic imagery of your poems. The third one appeals to me most.

    1. The first one is T. S. Eliot, with his wasteland imagery; the second is Cavafy (Greek lushness, living in Alexandria) – but could also be Neruda; and the third is Japanese.

      1. Ah – that’s why I like the third one so much. I’m crazy about Japanese poetry right now.

        1. For me definitely. Maybe it says something about our modern world – we like our information in bite sized bits.

  12. This post was SO educative for me! I was surprised to see I REALLY liked #2, but all through #1 thought it would be my type. Now must read again to decide between #2 and #3!

    1. Sometimes the conscious and subconscious mind want or like different things, which is why we’re torn between the two. Besides, I like all three, so why choose?

  13. Marina Sofia, I had fun with this prompt – reading everyone’s guesses and comments . I read the poems as separate then again to notice the thread that unites them. I think you did a wonderful job with this. I loved them all. The second one reminded me of Neruda. I haven’t read the Japanese poets and now I am inspired to do so. Thank you so much for this post!

    1. Neruda was certainly in the running for No. 2! I probably opted for a ‘style’ rather than a specific poet, which could be confusing.

  14. Erotic! “For once switch off reason and indulge in full moon madness,” !!!
    But the third poem, with economy and slyness, is my favorite

    1. My natural inclination veers towards the third type as well… not always successfully, though. Sometimes I’m more verbose than need be…

  15. all great pieces. My favourite, though, is the second one, especially the line “For once switch off reason and indulge in full moon madness”

  16. Three distinctive pieces…all beautiful. My favourite is the second one even though the third one is the style I am usually more drawn to. The “feel” of a poem overall can have so much impact.

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