Hello new followers, lured here by the power of poetry.
I fear I may disappoint you as I do not post that many poems. For obvious reasons 🙂
Like most people my first real encounter with poetry was at school. The classics seemed shrouded in an impermeable patina of age and respectability. They felt like punishment, not illumination.
But there were some poems that were different – the syllabus included an Ogden Nash poem, e.e. cummings, Randall Jarrell.
These poems were chewable, they filled the mouth and challenged the mind.
Then I discovered Mayakovsky and everything changed. Poetry was no longer an abstract concept, locked on the page, it was an active engagement with the world.
Alphaville introduced me to Paul Eluard. A girlfriend to Martin Espada. Chance to Fernando Pessoa. My past to Yeats and Heaney. Through Mayakovsky to Akhmatova to Mandelstam.
Random browsing of Penguin classics brought me Li Bao and Tu Fu. Random reading of NYRB and LRB brought me Weldon Kees and Amy Clampitt.
Poetry went from being something trapped behind a glaze of worthiness to being something core, an essential thing.
That is the thing about poetry. It sneaks up on you, taking no prisoners.
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You reminded me that it’s a while since I read poetry and yet I have always enjoyed it. My mother read AA Milne poems to me when I was very young. Alexander Beetle was a favourite amongst others (I liked lots of beetles)
“She said that she was sorry, but it’s difficult to catch
An excited sort of beetle you’ve mistaken for a match.”
She also read me Edward Lear poems. Later on, I discovered Ogden Nash, ee cummings, Roger McGough (I still think in Liverpudlian at times), and then at school came across the war poets, Yeats, Tennyson, Wordsworth, Coleridge, Homer, Ovid, Homer, French poets… Thank you for writing this and reminding me how much I enjoy poetry.
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