Thursday, April 7, 2011
Comedian, actor, and writer Steve Martin is a multitalented man. In an interview on the Powells Book News blog, he spoke about how reading poetry helped him learn to write. The lessons he learned would be beneficial to legal writers:
I really enjoy finding the right word, creating a good, flowing sentence. I enjoy the rhythm of the words. I haven't said this in a long time, but it's so true for me. When I was in college, I really liked poetry. I don't read much anymore. But my favorite early 20th-century poets were Dylan Thomas, T. S. Eliot, and e. e. cummings. Looking back, here's what I think I learned from each of them. From e. e. cummings, I learned about the rhythm of words. From T. S. Eliot, I learned about the intelligence of words. And from Dylan Thomas, I learned about the beauty of words. I try to bring all three of those elements into writing. Then, of course, you have to tell a story at the same time.
So those are my goals in prose. [Laughter] Prose should be, unless you're writing an instruction manual, a kind of poetry.