Today is the birthday of TS Eliot (September 26, 1888 – January 4, 1965). I still remember how strange and romantic it felt when I first read The Love Song of J Alfred Prufrock in my last or penultimate year in high school. Let us go then, you and I, When the evening is spread […]
I just came across this poem by Coleridge explaining metrical feet, the unit of measurement in poetry. He wrote it for his son, Derwent. A metrical foot is a set of syllables, usually two or three, only one of which is normally stressed, as in the words, po´-em and po´-et-ry. The first syllable is stressed […]
Here are the top 10 on Poetry Please, the 10 most popular poems on the longest running poetry programme broadcast anywhere in the world, according to the BBC. Started in 1979, the BBC 4 programme presents poems requested by listeners. It reaches two million listeners a week. The top 10 list is from the book, […]
Poems That Make Grown Men Cry. The title made me pick up the book. And it was revealing. It brings together poems which have made writers cry. So we have Salman Rushdie confessing he is moved to tears by the last lines of WH Auden’s famous poem, In Memory of WB Yeats. Sebastian Faulks, author […]
I love the poems of Billy Collins. Quiet and intimate, they are like sharing your thoughts with your spouse or lover when both of you are feeling happy and have nothing to do. You make small talk, exchange jokes, comment on little details. Collins’s poems are similar in nature.
Today is September 11. The day two planes hijacked by Al-Qaeda terrorists flew into the twin towers of New York’s World Trade Center, bringing them down in flames, killing nearly 3,000 people 13 years ago. I still remember the shock and horror of seeing it happen on television. After the television broadcasters live-reporting the tragedy, […]
I am reading Brian Patten again – after years. I first read his poems in a Penguin paperback called The Mersey Sound. It was an anthology of poems by three Liverpool poets – Patten, Adrian Henri and Roger McGough. It was one of my favourite books and I have written about it before. Now I […]
Today is the birthday of Sir John Betjeman, a 20th century poet who actually wrote in verse. Not free verse but lines that rhymed. Betjeman (August 28, 1906 – May 19, 1984) was popular in his time. His Collected Poems, published in 1958, has sold over two and a quarter million copies, according to Betjeman.com. […]
During his lifetime, Ogden Nash was the most widely known, appreciated, and imitated American creator of light verse, a reputation that has continued after his death, says the Poetry Foundation. Among other memorable verses he wrote: Reflexions on Ice-Breaking Candy is dandy But liquor is quicker
Reading about Robin Williams’ death, I wanted to read what writers wrote in their last days, in their illness or old age, when they knew they were about to die. That is how I came across these poems by my favourite writer, John Updike.