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, the shock was expressed most memorably, I think, by Paul Auster in his novel, Brooklyn Follies.
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 am once again reading Collected Love Poems by Brian Patten. And the pleasure’s all mine. Here are three poems which unaccountably I failed to mention the first time I read the book. The first poem is on the theme of constancy and the next two are so lyrical!
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.
It doesn’t take a literary rocket scientist — or whatever brainy literature lovers are — to appreciate his poems. If you are occasionally wry, sardonic, wistful, nostalgic, fed up with progress and modernity, like a bit of open air and girls, you may enjoy some of his poems. Continue reading “The poems of John Betjeman”→
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:
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. Continue reading “Updike’s last poems”→
Which is Wordsworth’s finest poem? How can one even ask such a question? He has written so many memorable poems, it seems impossible to single out any one as the very best. Yet the question has been on my mind these past two days since the birthday of Wordsworth (April 7, 1770 – April 23, 1850). And my answer?