When I was 16, I wrote tons of poems. I must have filled up fifty notebooks with random scribblings. One day, completely entranced by my new hobby, I told my mother I wanted to be a writer. She was less than pleased. She goes, ‘Oh Matthew! Become a doctor and you can write prescriptions!’
I still write poems today, at 42 years old. Some say I have a bit of a Peter Pan Complex. I still live in a bachelor pad, I’m unmarried, no kids, still have many of the same habits I developed as a teen. This may be accurate. Not sure. But what I do know is that all these years of writing poetry have been valuable.
Poetry taught me to write better. To trust my voice. To listen. To hear. Poetry made writing fun for me. It filled me with a sense of possibility. It also taught me that the most important rule is to be willing to break them all.
A good poet can write cover letters, novels, screenplays, resumes, grant applications, graduate admissions essays, blog articles, contracts, advertising copy, speeches, you name it. It is insanely valuable. Ok. It’s not being a doctor. But it can enrich your life and help you succeed in a wide range of careers.
Feast of Sapphires,’ isn’t a best-seller, doesn’t mean I’m not glad I wrote it.
I’m an actor too. Many of the parts I’ve played, on television for example, have reached millions of homes. Still, if only a handful of people read my poems, it’s more rewarding to me. Because this is something I feel intrinsically connected to, something that feels necessary. I wouldn’t be happy without it.
So, no, you can’t trade poetry on the NYSE (Symbol: PTRY). Venture capitalists aren’t squabbling over every last stanza. Nor is Netflix paying billions to have poets read their work at The Beacon Theater. Still, poetry is insanely valuable. It can save your life. In certain ways, at least, it saved mine.
Feast of Sapphires,’ reached #12 on the Amazon Best Seller List. Matt has performed standup in seven countries, and acted in numerous film and tv productions. His first short film, Inside Job, won acting and directing awards on the festival circuit. More at mattnagin.com
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