When I became part of a company’s speechwriting team, a friend kept pressing on me the need to read poetry if I was really serious about being a speechwriter. He gave me copies of the collected poems of three great modernist poets – T.S. Eliot, Dylan Thomas and Wallace Stevens. It didn’t take much convincing; I could easily see that poetry and speeches – truly fine speeches – have much in common, in terms of form, flow, cadence, voice, rhythm and how they sound to the ear. Differences exist, to be sure, but there is much I could learn, and did learn, about speechwriting from poetry.
I was familiar with Eliot and Thomas from my formal education years. Wallace Stevens (1879 – 1955) was something of a revelation. A businessman, with the heart of a poet. A corporate attorney. And one who turned down academic offers from Ivy League universities to stay with the Hartford Insurance Company.
To continue reading, please read my post today at TweetSpeak Poetry.