What Do You Call a Poem Inspired by a Line from a Book?

Something else is always going on
whatever big thing you think is going on
something else is always happening elsewhere
without a care for your big thing.
The wind is groping lazily through the trees
a dragon is silently shedding its skin
a theatre is being haunted by a jolly spectre
bread is being baked in a clay oven
a philanderer is having a crisis of conscience in a cafe
love is being made vigorously en plein air
a just-opened bottle of Californian red is breathing beautifully, ready to savour
a dandy is flanneuring around town in his new gentleman’s muffler
a starlet is dreaming of her big break (then having it stolen right under her nose)
a painting is bleeding wet on wet all over itself in scarlet ache
and the whole time, the whole time, the whole time
the seasons keep turning
the planet keeps spinning.

Birth, oil & thinner on canvas, © N. Nazir 2009

I wrote this poem a couple of years ago after being inspired by a line from the wonderfully thrilling book The Last Werewolf by Glen Duncan. I unearthed the poem again recently whilst rereading the book this last month. The said line is the first one of the poem: something else is always going on. It occurs in the book when the main character himself is going through a major upheaval of identity consciousness, trying to reconcile his nature as a werewolf and a human, something he constantly grapples with, and because of something amazing that happens to him that I won’t mention as it’s a big spoiler alert. He is simultaneously aware that his time on earth will be short-lived from that point as the cult undercover authorities are tailing him at every turn. It’s a beautifully dark tale. The confessional poetic nature of the character’s internal dialogue and Duncan’s narrative is so bittersweet to read. At the time it inspired this poem which came out as a free write with not much editing required afterwards.

I would warmly welcome an answer to my question. Is there a name for this type of poem? I have looked into it, read through all manner of glossaries of poetic terms and found nothing. Maybe there isn’t a name for it? Perhaps it’s just a poetry prompt. If you happen to know, I’d love to hear from you 🙂

© N. Nazir 2020

*Sidenote: this is not the painting mentioned in the poem but an old one of mine I felt resonated with that line.

6 thoughts on “What Do You Call a Poem Inspired by a Line from a Book?

  1. Pingback: A Poem for Lunatics – Sunra Rainz

  2. clivebennett796

    ‘Inspired by’ is probably the closest you’ll get but you may like to look into the history of the ‘found poem’.

    I write haiku which are often inspired by a line, or sometimes just a word, in the nature essays of Richard Jefferies. In that sense I consider them ‘found’!

    But this maybe a liberal interpretation.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. HI Clive! Thank you for stopping by 🙂 Yes, I think you’re right, it is just a prompt to be inspired by with the final edit being to remove the actual line you took from another text. Except I haven’t!

      Hope you are well. I thoroughly enjoyed listening to some of the birdsong recordings on your page! Delightful 😀


      Liked by 1 person

      1. clivebennett796

        Thanks Sunra I’m glad you like my posts. Colin Blundell, President of the British Haiku Society and a devotee of Richard Jefferies compiled a book, Some Spirit Land (2013), of found poems in the prose passages of his essays.

        I think if you are inspired by a line in the text and write a poem around it – you are commenting on the visualisation engendered by the original writing – a sort of ekphrastic poem – although that usually references an actual painting or picture. But I think you could stretch a point. It would make for an interesting debate!

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Pingback: An Ultra Violet Poem – Sunra Rainz

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