Paulo Coelho

Stories & Reflections

Today’s Question by Maya

Author: Paulo Coelho

You won your first award in a school poetry contest. Do you read poetry now? What authors? Is it an inspiration for you now?

Actually it was my sister who won this poetry contest with one of my poems. She wanted to take part in this poetry contest but asked me to write something. I wrote the poem, but feeling it wasn’t good enough, I threw in the bin. She sneaked into my room and got it, later to win the contest. I remember my surprise at this, and today I feel it was one of these decisive moments where you say to yourself: I’m able to do it.

Today I read more novels than poetry but every once in a while, I’m drawn back to one of my favorite writers: William Blake. I also like to re-read Brazilian poets such as Manuel Bandeira or the Portuguese Fernando Pessoa.

To give an example of how much poetry inspires me: for my book, Like the Flowing River, I got this image out of one of Bandera’s poems that goes like this:

“Be like a river that flows
Silent in the middle of the night
Not fearing the dark of the night,
Reflecting any star that is in the sky.
And if the sky fills with clouds,
Clouds are water, like the river, so
Reflect them too with no regret In the silent depth.”

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