As well as literature, I am a huge fan of poetry. My favourite poem is by a Post-Modernist American poet named Frank O’Hara, Why I am Not a Painter.
I am not a painter, I am a poet.
Why? I think I would rather be
a painter, but I am not. Well,
for instance, Mike Goldberg
is starting a painting. I drop in.
“Sit down and have a drink” he
says. I drink; we drink. I look
up. “You have SARDINES in it.”
“Yes, it needed something there.”
“Oh.” I go and the days go by
and I drop in again. The painting
is going on, and I go, and the days
go by. I drop in. The painting is
finished. “Where’s SARDINES?”
All that’s left is just
letters, “It was too much,” Mike says.
But me? One day I am thinking of
a color: orange. I write a line
about orange. Pretty soon it is a
whole page of words, not lines.
Then another page. There should be
so much more, not of orange, of
words, of how terrible orange is
and life. Days go by. It is even in
prose, I am a real poet. My poem
is finished and I haven’t mentioned
orange yet. It’s twelve poems, I call
it ORANGES. And one day in a gallery
I see Mike’s painting, called SARDINES.
This is a poem about the creative process and how inspiration can come from anywhere at any time. O’Hara wrote this poem about his collection of poems Oranges: 12 pastorals and a painting named Sardines by his friend, Mike Goldberg. This poem taught me the importance of evolving my work, I start off with a small idea for a project and eventually it becomes so much more.