The poems of John Betjeman

John Betjeman
John Betjeman

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.

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Wordsworth’s finest

Wordsworth
Wordsworth

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?

I love Tintern Abbey and the Immortality Ode. They are great poems. And The Daffodils is one of the loveliest lyrics in the English language. But my favourite is one of the Lucy poems.

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Typewriter poems

George OrwellPressrun.net has a new look today. The typeface is different. It reminds me of typewriters.

I love smartphones, tablets, laptops, but typewriters were my first love. Not smooth, electric typewriters but the manual variety. Such as the one George Orwell is working on in this photo. With a cigarette in his mouth, fingers on the keyboard, the author of the essay, Books vs Cigarettes, looks utterly engrossed.Continue reading “Typewriter poems”

Lawrence Ferlinghetti is 94

Today is the birthday of Lawrence Ferlinghetti, says The Writer’s Almanac. His 94th birthday! just think of it. I first read him in a Penguin paperback which included a selection of poems by him, Allen Ginsberg and Gregory Corso. Here are two of his poems:

I Am Waiting

Sometime During Eternity

Office Friendships, Hurried Love and Prayer by Gavin Ewart

The Writer’s Almanac reminded me today is the birthday of Gavin Ewart (February 4, 1916 -October 25,1995). Here are some of his poems I found online and liked them so much they had to be here.

Office Friendships

Eve is madly in love with Hugh
And Hugh is keen on Jim.
Charles is in love with very few
And few are in love with him.

Myra sits typing notes of love
With romantic pianist’s fingers.
Dick turns his eyes to the heavens above
Where Fran’s divine perfume lingers.

Nicky is rolling eyes and tits
And flaunting her wiggly walk.
Everybody is thrilled to bits
By Clive’s suggestive talk.

Sex suppressed will go berserk,
But it keeps us all alive.
It’s a wonderful change from wives and work
And it ends at half past five.

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Poems Singapore

Singapore, seen from a plane about to land at Changi airport

I saw this book and loved it at first sight. How could I not with its poems about Singapore?

It is called Words: Poems Singapore and Beyond and edited by Edwin Thumboo.

As luck would have it, the very first page I opened had a poem by him about the transformation of Singapore. The poem, Island, begins like a fairy tale:

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Two poems about Singapore

One poem leads to another. Reading Reflecting on the Merlion: An Anthology of Poems edited by Edwin Thumboo and Yeow Kai Chai, and co-edited by Enoch Ng, Isa Kamari, and Seetha Lakshmi at the public library, I wanted to read more poems about Singapore.

And, as luck would have it, I came across another anthology, this one co-edited by Alvin Pang, whose poem, Merlign, I particularly liked among all the poems about the Merlion. This anthology is called Over There: Poems from Singapore and Australia, edited by Alvin Pang and John Kinsella. I immediately liked two of the poems: Bumboat Cruise on the Singapore River by Miriam Wei Wei Lo and They Say by Kirpal Singh.

Why are poems so hard to find on the Net? There should be a few by every poet so we may want to read more of their works.

Here’s more about Kirpal Singh and Miriam Wei Wei Lo (here and here).

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