Monday, 3 October 2011

Favourite Poems

The arrival of October brings with it a familiar set of emotions for me as a writer. I remember the cold night nearly two years ago, when a quiet Lara spent an evening nudging me in an audacious attempt to flirt. I also remember being hooked on the idea of poetry, properly hooked.

That memorable evening was, I have to say, all thanks to WordPool. I have tried to be involved with this more than once, offered up suggestions and been conveniently shelved twice. I’ll brush over any positive mentions of Blackpool Council then- forget them, fools, it can’t be done here!

That though, is exactly what gets my goat. I always liked poetry. I never thought I would write it. It was this group, or an association with it, that got me in that night. I remember turning up at The Brick Theatre, reading some drivel I’d written to respond to ‘A Favourite Poem’ and going on to the Grand later. A great day, looking back.

That was National Poetry Day, 2009. I remember responding to something from Felix Dennis’ Homeless in My Heart (a book primarily bought for the wonderful pictures that accompany the writing), having a stab at responding to Heaney’s Digging (everyone’s favourite poem from my class at school- it was taught really well) and, later in the week, getting really drunk and attempting a response to Lewis Carroll’s Jabberwocky, complete with swishing sword actions and arm waving.

They were my favourite poems back then. They are still some of my favourites now, amongst a bookshelf of others, though thinking on, I don’t recall reading these three gems for a well over a year. I hear them all the time- their rhythmic lines etched into my head somewhere down the line- and for that, I love poetry.

I could never recite a few lines of my favourite novels for someone. Ask about a bit of poetry though and I’m sure something would pop into my head. I can keep my favourite poems with me wherever I go and have even found myself acting in their advice before now (‘La Belle Dame Sans Merci’ coming to mind more than once in the company of women).

Really though, it is always an emotional hook that drags me in. It is not always a masterpiece, not always a snappy rhyme and not always a name I’d previously heard. I like the way you can be hooked on a moment though- and that the thought will stay with you for hours. If I had to name something as an absolute favourite- the most memorable poem, the one that made me cry, the one I stumbled across in an Anthology... Ian McMillan’s wonderful response to William Carlos Williams’ ‘The Red Wheelbarrow’. Have a read of this, I can see no better ending.

The Green Wheelbarrow (scroll down a little)

Thanks for reading, S.



Ashley R Lister said...

Great post to start the week. And some sensational poems to discuss.


vicky ellis said...

Agreed Shaun. The form can be as snappy as you like but if there's no personal interest it's not going to stick.

I envy anyone who can remember lines of poetry. My head is a murky soup of all the poetry I read and I daren't risk quoting it as I'm sure to get it wrong! That said, I can quote bits of my own poetry from time to time. What does that mean? :/