James Dickey won a National Book Award for his poetry collection Buckdancer’s Choice. That was years before he hit the big time with Deliverance. To some degree, poetry remained his first and last love.
Later, in the 1985 collection How to Use the Power of the Printed Word, he offered some advice for aspiring, or even veteran poets. It begins with simplicity:
As for me, I like the sun, the source of all living things, and on certain days very good-feeling, too. ‘Start with the sun,’ D. H. Lawrence said, ‘and everything will slowly, slowly happen.’ Good advice. And a lot will happen…
Start by writing what’s in front of you. If you can capture that, it’s an amazing start.
(h/t: Maria Popova)