Fast fact: Poetry doesn’t pay the bills. But you probably already know that. However, many poets who work as professional writers (e.g., technical writing) will tell you how their poetry training still comes in handy. Even as a student, I’ve noticed how poetry has improved my professional writing skills in these ways:
Attention to Detail
Poetry, like any form of creative writing, tells much of its story through detail. The power of Tom Andrews’s “At Burt Lake” doesn’t come from its musing but from its careful noting of the way the stars “blister” and “chip” the lake or the fact that it’s a sycamore tree, not just a tree. Without giving me a paragraph about the smell of milfoil or what time of year it is, Andrews presents a scene before his readers, his sharp detail capturing all we need to hear. Noticing the little things that present a scene can tighten your own writing (even if you’re writing just about manuals).