How to read a poem — and fall in love with poetry
How to Read a Poem: And Fall in Love with Poetry is an exceptional book – a book on poetry that is sheer poetry. The author Edward Hirsch writes about poetry with a lyrical effusion. “I have tried to be as clear as possible… but I have also tried to give my prose the wings…
T.S. Eliot and Four Women
TS Eliot was the greatest English poet of the 20th century. American-born in St Louis, Missouri, he died a British citizen in London at the age of 76 on January 4, 1965 – the year after the Beatles invaded America and made their first film, A Hard Day’s Night. The contrast between the austere Eliot…
Love in Shakespeare’s sonnets
The website No Sweat Shakespeare singles these out as Shakespeare’s “famous sonnets”. They are no doubt famous. Most of them we had to read at school or college. And six out of these eight sonnets are addressed to a “fair youth”, a young man. The so-called Swinging Sixties and, for that matter, the subsequent decade…
Roger McGough’s Summer with Monika
I have been a fan of Roger McGough, Adrian Henri and Brian Patten ever since I came across The Mersey Sound, Penguin Modern Poets 10, in my schooldays. Published in 1967, the same year that the Beatles came out with Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, it had the same mixture of whimsy, youthfulness and…
In praise of PG Wodehouse
It feels like heaven,To be reading PG Wodehouse again,Hailed by critics one and all,As the Garden of Eden before the Fall,
Not quite limericks
There is a gentleman in BeijingBy the name of Xi JinpingWith a burning ambitionAnd steely determinationTo be the world’s uncrowned king. ***
Unleash the poet within
Unleash The Poet WithinIs a primer for womenTo try their hand at verse,Though why it’s male-averseI’ve no notionOr explanationFor. Is the author,Wendy Nyemaster,A literary feminist,A versifying specialist,Intent on a sororitySkilled in prosody,But absolutely no timeTo teach men to rhyme?
The poems of Philip Larkin
Often wry and dry, mocking and wistful in turns, sometimes even bitter and foul-mouthed, Philip Larkin is no Wordsworth, William Blake or Keats. He doesn’t go into raptures about love or nature or into spiritual ecstasy. He isn’t a poet who offers solace or comfort. And yet, as James Booth says in his book, Philip…
The delightful poems of Wendy Cope
Witty, self-assured Wendy Cope seems to be the Jane Austen of verse, writing about love, domesticity and a woman’s life, till her playfulness reminds you of Oscar Wilde.
Poetry will save your life
Poems can be passionate, forthright, mysterious, allusive, elegiac, tender, wistful, as various and beautiful in different ways as women and the earth.