I was inspired by "The Square", by Margueritte Duras, a French novella from 1955. I found it fascinating that Ms. Duras could maintain over a hundred pages of dialogue between two strangers, revealing their lives and hopes and dreams through their interaction, with very little scene or setting. I am typically a visual writer with little dialogue, so it would be an extreme challenge to attempt the same. My original draft failed, as it came across like two people talking in an empty room, so I added back in setting.
The actual kernal inspiration for the story was a newspaper articled entitled "The Hanged Poems of Mecca". The newspaper was folded across the title, so I only saw the first half and misread it as The Hanged Poet.
And yes, I feared writing the poet's poem. Some other writers advised me to leave it implied and unspoken, like some sort of poetic Necronomicon. I thought that would be cheating the reader. Veritas' poem came easily, since it needed to change only him. Theseda Ys poem did not, as it had to be universal enough to be co-opted by everybody who heard it.