I’m not a poet, but sometimes I wish I were. Poets have written some of the bestselling memoirs. Consider Maya Angelou’s I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings and Mary Karr’s The Liars’ Club. I’m sure there are others I’m not thinking of just now. (If you have a personal favorite poet–memoir writer, please Comment.) I enjoyed Angelou’s memoir better than Karr’s, but both “hit a nerve” with millions of readers.
Poets “get” words and the emotions they reflect or incite better than anybody. Below is a fun link that was reposted by Bookstore1Sarasota. (If the link no longer works, you’re looking for an article called “One Word” on the Poetry Society of America’s website, currently in the category Crossroads.) I admit I didn’t follow all the “Read article” links but just enjoyed the lead-in statements about the poets’ favorite words. Essays are from the anthology One Word, edited by Molly McQuade. https://www.poetrysociety.org/psa/poetry/crossroads/one_word/
Shelf Awareness newsletter yesterday pointed to this neat show of respect by one writer (Twain) for one poet (Whitman). Said Shelf Awareness: “Best literary birthday letter ever. In 1889, Mark Twain wrote a congratulatory message to Walt Whitman on the occasion of the poet’s 70th birthday. Letters of Note presented this eloquent missive, which was “not just a birthday wish, but a stunning 4-page love letter to human endeavor, as seen during Whitman’s lifetime.” Here’s the link to the letter (sorry, haven’t learned to “embed” yet, so still showing lengthy link info): http://www.lettersofnote.com/2011/04/what-great-births-you-have-witnessed.html