Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Verse First ~ The Red Wheelbarrow

Verse First ~  The Red Wheelbarrow

Welcome to Verse First, where simple notions prompt amazing poems. 
Today's notion?

THE RED WHEELBARROW

Mary Oliver, in her oft-referred-to A Poetry Handbook and Natalie Goldberg in Writing Down the Bones, each dedicate a number of pages to the reading and discussion of William Carlos Williams' sweet, simple-yet-complex poem The Red Wheelbarrow.

Only eight lines long, this poem teaches volumes. Every word has both literal and figurative meaning. The design of the piece adds impact. The lack of punctuation is purposeful and significant.

Your assignment? Read The Red Wheelbarrow, then write an eight line poem of your own whose simplicity is equally complex. Post the finished work on your site, then link up here. Be sure to give feedback to other participants. Can't wait!  ~K

The Red Wheelbarrow

William Carlos Williams


                                                           so much depends
                                                           upon

                                                           a red wheel
                                                           barrow

                                                           glazed with rain
                                                           water

                                                           beside the white 
                                                           chickens


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Monday, July 29, 2013

Poem of the Week ~ White Lucidity

Kids, summer often brings a feeling of everything being white-hot, pared down to the bone. At life whispers recently, our beloved Nene articulated this perfectly in his poem White Lucidity. Please enjoy our Poem of the Week. It will lift you right up into those blue August skies!







white lucidity


This sphere upon which
I now ride
allows me to soar
it gives me space
when before so much
clutter had dark’nd my space
and now that I have emptied
all that is of less worth to me
the space is blank, it’s white

Lucidity
Wisdom
Knowledge 
in this order
my home is supported
by pillars of this form
all of which were built
onto each other

they’re painted in coated
layers of passion reds
emotional blues
translucent yellow tears
purple grit

the grit is made
from smiles and many
caring embraces
from reveries and dreams
of special places
heartfelt honesty
they’re sturdiness
and strength
from Love

What a beautifully uplifting poem, Nene. Thanks so much for your always heartfelt contributions to our community.

Poem of the Week - Home Repairs

Even though summer's pace seems to be at full gallop, there has been some great writing going on. Recently, I found this gem in the Poetry Pantry, written by Scott Matthews at A Mystical Path. Existentialism in the guise of a Home Depot holy man. Cool concept!




Home Repairs

They come,
Seeking answers
To scratch paper sketches;
Porches, playrooms
Pantries and problems;
Resultant conundrums of a material world.
Expecting-
High pressure tactics,
Pushy sales person
Running up tickets,
And, of course, technical expertise.
What they don’t expect,
Is a Home Depot holy man.
An orange apron-ed mystic,
Offering solutions to drywall dilemmas.
Who studies the cracks in foundations,
Listens to camouflage
overlying faint cries of despair.
And hears-
How do I build a stairway of sincerity?
Tall as a tower, shining steps rising
Above the crippling contrariness of my life?
What manner of steel is so stain-less,
To weather the corrosion of my debaucheries,
To anchor my heals in righteous construction,
So Heaven someday may be within reach?
What padding can be so resilient,
To keep disappointment from scorching my ass,
Dragged through the coals of work-a-day world?
Flat on my bum, one foot entangled,
Eternally caught in the crux
Of life’s bottom rung?
And
Where do I find the cheapest fix,
To patch this hole in my heart,
Out through which my humanity bleeds?
Welcome to the Depot, he replies.
Mirrors, aisle seven.
Such a clever poem. I so love how "to patch this hole in my heart, out through which my humanity bleeds?" and the ironic response of the closing lines. 

Do check out Scott's blog. Fans of werewolf stories will enjoy excerpts from Scott's writing in this genre. Thanks, Scott, for your participation at Poets United. We appreciate you!


Sunday, July 28, 2013

Poetry Pantry #160

Savannah, Georgia



Greetings, Poets!  

Glad to see each of you here this week. Hope you each had a poetic week & also will share one of your poems here.  It is always fun to get to know you through your poetry; and I hope you feel the same. 

This is one of my favorite spaces to post.  I hope you look forward to it too.  

Link your ONE poem.   Then leave a comment below. Then visit other poets.  And I will too.  (If I miss your poem, visit me, and I will visit you... I am like anyone else, appreciating reciprocity.) We ALL like comments, so if you link please DO spend time visiting others.  That is part of the fun as well.  We really like it if you link back to Poets United too, so we spread the Poetry Pantry word in the blogosphere.

Come back a few times on Sunday and Monday to see what's new.  Visit some strangers, and they will become new friends!  Making new friends and reading new poetry, what more could one want?

Also, don't forget to visit Poets United other days of the week.  For example, every Wednesday Kim posts a new "Verse First" prompt.  Hope you will join us there as well!  Sherry Blue Sky does a feature (it varies) on Monday, and Rosemary Nissen-Wade does "I Wish I'd Written This" every Friday!

If you are on Facebook, look for us there as well. Join our site.  It is one more way to stay in touch!

And now...here is the procedure, for those who are new here:  Each Sunday we start a new post with a New Mr. Linky for you. This is so that you can post a link to a poem in your blog. The link will close Monday at 12:00 p.m. (CDT), but you can still visit the links of those who have posted them.

Enjoy!













Friday, July 26, 2013

I Wish I'd Written This

Chances
By Jane Shlensky

Some days my memories with you fog,
and I cannot imagine your voice
or mine, as we were when you were
most yourself.  Still, my hands are yours,
worn and busy, stained with foliage,
and my hair, white long before its time,
traces a gene back to your mother.

I carry you in me, as I concentrate
on opening earth to seedlings,
trying to sense seasons’ change,
smelling soil and new buds,
spring rains and twilight,
checking old growth bark for new life—
all learned from you.

I gather words together, arranging them
like posies, pruning and shaping
just as you taught me,
a poem helping us share a moment
of observance, a recognition
of overlooked wonders in need
of second chances: the first crocus,

a jay’s feather, a gnarled twig like a cross,
a stone laced with red veins pulsing
the heart of the earth,
a dead hummingbird
curled like a small fist,
lying still and iridescent
among wild flowers.

I know when you became uprooted
from yourself, you longed for death,
but I could not wish you gone,
even knowing all I’d learned
of pain and loss, that death is not
the worst thing, still I could not imagine
a world depleted of you.

I cannot now say “never” in a line
that has you in it.  You are ever.
As long as I can remember,
I will feel you living in me
and take every spring’s resurrection
as a chance to hold you again.

(First published in Beyond the Dark Room: An International Collection of Transformative Poetry)

Jane is another of the many wonderful poets I've come across online. In fact, we are both in Beyond the Dark Room. I'm sure she's as proud as I am to be included in that project, the brain child of its editor, Dr Pearl Ketover Prilik.

Another collection Jane can be proud of is her own chapbook, Old Mules and Plowed Ground: A Poetic Memoir, recently featured at the site Poetic Bloomings. Her poem above is now part of that memoir. 

I could tell you that, as the title suggests, this chapbook consists of very earthy poetry, real and satisfying. I could mention its range and variety. But best you go and have a read yourself.

The beautiful memorial above is my favourite of them all — but it was hard to choose! This piece is also quoted in an interview with Jane at Poetic Bloomings. (And incidentally, if you're not yet familiar with that excellent site for poets, perhaps you should take a good look around it.)

If you Google 'Jane Shlensky poems', you'll find more of her work, all well worth reading. For instance she is a consistent contributor to Poetic Asides; frequently short-listed and several times a winner of the poetry awards offered there. She's very good at prose poems, too.

I look forward to more from this exciting poet.



Poems and photos used in ‘I Wish I’d Written This’ remain the property of the copyright holders (usually their authors).

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Verse First ~ Close to The Source

Verse First ~  Close to The Source


Welcome to Verse First, where simple notions prompt amazing poems. 
Today's notion?

CLOSE TO THE SOURCE

Good writing takes the reader on location. Good writing doesn't "talk about," but emanates the warmth, light and life of the topic at hand.

Consider these two lines:
     "Her bloodstone stilettos click-clicked across the cold marble floor."
     "She wore red shoes."

Get the idea? A good poem feels vivid and visceral and close to the source.

Today, become the experience. Write from the source. With detailed yet precise language, make us feel your meaning. Use necessary language and not a word more. In order to improve your skills, consider inviting fellow participants to suggest cuts and edits to create intense, condensed meaning. If this interests you, leave a note below your piece.

After posting your poem on your website, use Mr. Linky to share it here. Leave a comment below if you like, and please support others by visiting and commenting on their work.

I look forward to experiencing your work. ~ Kim



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Monday, July 22, 2013

Blog of the Week ~ Pics and Poems

Kids, I'm sure you have encountered this well-known poet, on your travels around the blogosphere. Poets United member Dave King, gentleman poet extraordinaire, posts with style and wit at  Pics and Poems.



Dave has been blogging since 2006. He is faithful about participating in prompts, and making the rounds to comment on others' work. Here is one of his recent posts, one that I love:


This Be the Planet


This is the planet that nurtured life
from the moment life began,
the way a man will blow on a spark
in order to kindle a flame.

This is the planet that welcomed life
and awarded it top spot,
gave it the keys to its atmosphere,
and the freedom of ocean and rock.

This is the planet that stocked its shelves
with all the essentials for life:
trace elements, carbon and vitamins --
and left it to fashion its prize. 

This is the planet that held its breath,
preserving what others had lost --
and preserved it well until man appeared
and fiddled with all the controls.

This is the planet that healed itself
with feedback, nudge and tweak,
until it was pushed way over the edge
into Chaos and Prospect Bleak.

This is the planet out on  a limb
in need of a settings change.
Its final, desperate hope is to
recapture its maker's range.


I so love this poem! And here is another

Ere the First Sad Petal Falls


It always was this way. My age perhaps,
my inner age, the age I've always been,
that I see beauties in a flower long past it's best --
not there when it was in its prime.

The rose that blooms a step too far,
gets over big, too heavy for its stem,
its face too blown. Perhaps
too sated for the bees that visit it,

but in whatever cause, it oversteps the mark,
cannot contain its shape or hue.
If only nature had a reset button for the flower --
as that hid wrapped inside the human brain.

I understand the present beauty of the flower.
Inclusive loveliness.
A montage of the graces that have flown.
To me it says: Perfection never was.

Decay rips silently inside the ache for more.
The artist knows not when to stop.
There is no point at which two visions meet:
This vision of the future on a view of now.

What once seemed consummation of
our hopes, the rose's full potential, its
maturity, was but the master's small 
maquette for what was still to come.

Back then I gave it all my admiration,
but now it has me locked in its embrace,
defenseless in the face of these new charms
and ravished into ecstasy.


So lovely. And one more, my favorite

Great Aunt Min

In Islington
did Great Aunt Min
keep a pub
she called an inn.
And there, within,
in golden cage
a regal bird
(then all the rage),
a parakeet
elective mute.
Though quite absurd,
no syllable
would pass its beak
until it heard
the magic words:
"Time, if you please!
Time ladies and
good gentlefolk!
Ti..i..ime... if you please!"

At which the bird
would stretch and shake
and lift its beak
as if to say
"Who reckons me
too dumb to speak?"
And loudly then,
with raucous squawk
would demonstrate
his fruity talk:
"Aint you buggers
got no homes?
Aint you buggers
got no homes?
Aint you buggers
got no homes?"
until Aunt Min
turned out the light
and locked them in
to pass the night,
when meek and mild
as any child
he'd settle down
and wait for her
to cover him.


Thank you, Dave, for your lovely gentlemanly presence in our community. We so appreciate you. I love  your stories of the past, and your kindred view of the present.


Sunday, July 21, 2013

Poetry Pantry #159

Hohenzollern Castle - Sigmaringen,  Germany


Greetings, Poets!  

Glad to see each of you here this week. Hope you each had a poetic week & also will share one of your poems here.  It is always fun to get to know you through your poetry; and I hope you feel the same. 

This is one of my favorite spaces to post.  I hope you look forward to it too.  

Link your ONE poem.   Then leave a comment below. Then visit other poets.  And I will too.  (If I miss your poem, visit me, and I will visit you... I am like anyone else, appreciating reciprocity.) We ALL like comments, so if you link please DO spend time visiting others.  That is part of the fun as well.  We really like it if you link back to Poets United too, so we spread the Poetry Pantry word in the blogosphere.

Come back a few times on Sunday and Monday to see what's new.  Visit some strangers, and they will become new friends!  Making new friends and reading new poetry, what more could one want?

Also, don't forget to visit Poets United other days of the week.  For example, every Wednesday Kim posts a new "Verse First" prompt.  Hope you will join us there as well!  Sherry Blue Sky does a feature (it varies) on Monday, and Rosemary Nissen-Wade does "I Wish I'd Written This" every Friday!

If you are on Facebook, look for us there as well. Join our site.  It is one more way to stay in touch!

And now...here is the procedure, for those who are new here:  Each Sunday we start a new post with a New Mr. Linky for you. This is so that you can post a link to a poem in your blog. The link will close Monday at 12:00 p.m. (CDT), but you can still visit the links of those who have posted them.

Enjoy!













Friday, July 19, 2013

I Wish I'd Written This

A Profession

By Primo Levi (1919 - 1987)

All you need to do is wait, fountain pen ready.
The lines will whir around you, like drunken moths.
One comes to the flame and you snatch it.
To be sure, you’re not finished; one isn’t enough.
Still it’s a lot – the beginning of your task.
The others rival one another to light nearby,
In a row or a circle, order or disorder,
Simple and quiet and slaves to your command.
You are the master – no doubt about it.
If it’s a good day, you line them up.
Fine work, isn’t it? Time-honored,
Sixty centuries old and always new,
With fixed or slack rules,
Or no rules at all, just as you like.
You feel you’re in good company,
Not lazy, lost, or always useless,
Sandaled and togaed, cloaked
In fine linen, with your degree.
Just take nothing for granted.

2 January 1984

From Primo Levi: Collected Poems, translated by Ruth Feldman and Brian Swann. London, Faber, 1988.



Primo Levi, an Italian Jewish chemist, survived ten months of incarceration in Auschwitz concentration camp prior to its liberation in January 1945. He eventually made his way back to Italy. After his retirement from managing a chemical factory in 1977, he became a full time writer.

Naturally enough, his poems were influenced by his experience of Auschwitz. Many address that experience directly. 

The piece I have chosen, though, is an exception. I'm sure any poet would relate to it. (Because the poems in this volume are dated, we know it was written fairly late in his life.)

Not many of his poems can be found online, but there are some at this link. At PoemHunter there are poems and prose quotations, for which he ia also famous. And here is another poem and  a comprehensive article. He also wrote novels, short stories and essays; check out his Amazon page. He was interviewed in 1985 by Paris Review.

He is widely supposed to have committed suicide by jumping over the railing of the staircase outside his fourth floor apartment. I prefer the more recent opinion that, being elderly and subject to  dizziness (which was known about him), he fell accidentally.



Poems and photos used in ‘I Wish I’d Written This’ remain the property of the copyright holders (usually their authors).

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Verse First ~ Water Table

Verse First ~  Water Table


Welcome to Verse First, where simple notions prompt amazing poems. 
Today's notion?

WATER TABLE

I live in the Sonora Desert, an arid, rugged, often inhospitable environment. Yet oases exist. Verdant canyons, riparian zones and mesquite bosques dot the landscape. As the water table rises with monsoon downpours and winter rains, desiccated flora springs back, Lazarus-like. Miracles and wonders occur.

Today I want you to work wonders. "Capability is like a water table below the surface of the earth," according to Katagiri Roshi. "No one owns it, but you can tap it... and it will come through you."

So do that. Tap the water table. See what springs forth. But remember that resources are finite. Conserve. Limit yourself to thirteen lines.

After posting your poem on your site, use Mr. Linky to share it here. Leave a comment below if you like, and support others by visiting and responding to their work.



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Monday, July 15, 2013

Life of a Poet ~ Ninotaziz

Kids, I have a special treat for you today.  Ninotaziz has been a member of the Poets United community since the very early days of Poets United, when the site was begun by Robb Lloyd, (to whom I will be forever grateful). I am sure you have all enjoyed her amazing poetry. Over the three years I have known her, I have watched Ninot pursue her passion of preserving Malay legend, producing several beautiful books, that combine art and storytelling with magical results. I have been excited to see her work gaining recognition in the world of Malaysian letters, so that now I find myself interviewing not just a friend, but an emerging celebrity. It is a great honor to bring you this exciting update about our very own Ninotaziz.





P.U.: Ninot, I'm excited to be doing this interview with you. Would you prefer I address you as Ninot or Zalina ?


Sunday, July 14, 2013

Poetry Pantry #158

Perfume River,  Vietnam

Greetings, Poets!  

Glad to see each of you here this week. Hope you each had a poetic week & also will share one of your poems here.  It is always fun to get to know you through your poetry; and I hope you feel the same. 

This is one of my favorite spaces to post.  I hope you look forward to it too.  

Link your ONE poem.   Then leave a comment below. Then visit other poets.  And I will too.  (If I miss your poem, visit me, and I will visit you... I am like anyone else, appreciating reciprocity.) We ALL like comments, so if you link please DO spend time visiting others.  That is part of the fun as well.  We really like it if you link back to Poets United too, so we spread the Poetry Pantry word in the blogosphere.

Come back a few times on Sunday and Monday to see what's new.  Visit some strangers, and they will become new friends!  Making new friends and reading new poetry, what more could one want?

Also, don't forget to visit Poets United other days of the week.  For example, every Wednesday Kim posts a new "Verse First" prompt.  Hope you will join us there as well!  Sherry Blue Sky does a feature (it varies) on Monday, and Rosemary Nissen-Wade does "I Wish I'd Written This" every Friday!

If you are on Facebook, look for us there as well. Join our site.  It is one more way to stay in touch!

And now...here is the procedure, for those who are new here:  Each Sunday we start a new post with a New Mr. Linky for you. This is so that you can post a link to a poem in your blog. The link will close Monday at 12:00 p.m. (CDT), but you can still visit the links of those who have posted them.

Enjoy!













Friday, July 12, 2013

I Wish I'd Written This

Billboard
By Francesca Forrest

Sometime in his delinquent youth
my big brother noticed the rusty rungs
that led to the billboard catwalk
and he told me
when things got hot at home
he’d climb up and sit there
by the highway
all night long
silhouetted against “defeat proposition 466”
or “buckle up for safety’s sake”

One day, he brought me along
up and up I climbed
trembling arms and shaking legs
and sat with him
half choked and deafened
by my own drumming heart

With duct tape and string
my brother fastened pint jars
to mom’s unused tomato stakes
and there between heaven and earth
we fished for fireflies.


Francesca is known online as Asakiyume, which is how I encountered her, on LiveJournal. We have mutual friends there; that is what led me to her posts. I find them enchanting. Sometimes there are stories, or story fragments. Sometimes she talks about her family. Most often she celebrates the natural world, with photos and keen written observations. She has a magical way of seeing the everyday. 

And there are poems. How could one not fall in love with this one? How could one not be enraptured by that last line? 

Search her name on Goodreads and you'll find two of her own books listed, plus two anthologies that include her work. You'll also find her blog posts; or you can go direct to her LiveJournal for them. Once there, click on the tag 'poems' to find more of her own poetry as well as poems she likes by other people. 

Trumpet Vine Love Song and Songs were washing up were both nominated for awards, and rightly so.

Francesa says that at present she prefers to publish at her blog rather than submit to other publications. She explains:

It's just that many places won't consider publishing something that's already been published on a website like this, and at this point I'd rather share my poetry with people here, where at least I know a few will see it, than have to keep it secret on my computer, hoping that some journal will be willing to take it, when even if a journal does take it, I will be unlikely to know if people have actually seen the poem.

That's a point of view I can relate to very well, and I expect many Poets United members will agree.



Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Verse First ~ Lock

Verse First ~ Lock


Welcome to Verse First, where simple notions prompt amazing poems. 
Today's notion?

~ Lock ~


Virginia Woolf once said, "“I thought how unpleasant it is to be locked out; and I thought how it is worse, perhaps, to be locked in.”

Upon consideration, one realizes that being locked - in  or out- can be literal, emotional, medical, figurative.  And there are other meanings to ponder. A lock can be 
a fastener fitted to a door or drawer to keep it firmly closed. It can be a section of canal that can be closed to control the water level; used to raise or lower vessels that pass through it. Or a lock can be a simple strand or cluster of hair.

Write a poem around the notion of a lock, using whatever meaning sets free your creativity. After you post your work on your website, use Mr. Linky to share it here. Leave a comment below if you like, and generously visit and comment on one another's work.

Your perspective is key. I'm looking forward to sharing it.  ~ Kim


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Monday, July 8, 2013

Poem of the Week ~ If Even Wings Are Limiting.....?

Kids, I was surfing around the blogosphere trying to "catch up" on commenting, (does anyone ever??), when I stumbled upon a poem so good in its import and execution that I had to stop what I was doing and make it our Poem of the Week. 




Ruth at Turtle Memoirs, describes herself as  "a lover of words and of silences. I write with at least one foot in memoir, most of the time, and I seldom argue with what wants to be written."

I wouldn't argue, either, with a poem like this :

if even wings are limiting…? (taste-testing freedom)



even birds don’t fly
beyond the limits set by
wings
yet i
D R E A M
of sucking air enough to leave this
lumpish body on its lying bed, to taste (at last!)
the verity of tall-told tales that we are free to soar past pre-
determined bounds & definitions, to pierce↑ the sky
of anything that gods or words can say
and i who’ve always only flown with words for wings
float wordless through this heavy-sleeping world and waking, try
to translate what i hadn’t known i knew into a tongue that i’m no longer sure
of, for dreams insist that is
is isn’twon’t,
necessity; while can’t WILL
dance with pure potential
what if, awake, we dropped all definition of what is or isn’t, who we are or what
life tastes like – as if defining renders real when we all know, words lie
as easily as speak the truth and every language, learns to clip
our wings…
must we resign ourselves to languages’
delimitations or
shall we leave this heaviness
of words behind
and soar?
if even wings are limiting let’s
shrug them off – let’s!
throw off mind that screams you can’t, LET’S!
taste the boundless skies of
YOU ARE FREE
__
Ruth's message of soaring and freedom is so uplifting, it made me raise my own droopy wings and point them at the ceiling. Thank you so much, Ruth, for your wonderful writing, and for your loyalty and long-time membership at Poets United.

Kids, be sure to come back next Monday, for an extensive interview with our very own shining star, Ninotaziz, who is blazing comet-like trails all across Malaysia, with her books based on Malay legends. 


Sunday, July 7, 2013

Poetry Pantry #157





Greetings, Poets!  

Glad to see each of you here this week. Hope you each had a poetic week & also will share one of your poems here.  It is always fun to get to know you through your poetry; and I hope you feel the same. The photo above is probably the last one I will post from Disney World.  It was taken at the resort, and these little ducks were very brave and trusting walking among the guests.  Obviously people had fed them, so they were not put off by humans.  The ducks I see near home here keep as far away from humans as they can.

This is one of my favorite spaces to post.  I hope you look forward to it too.  Link your ONE poem.   Then leave a comment below. Then visit other poets.  And I will too.  (If I miss your poem, visit me, and I will visit you... I am like anyone else, appreciating reciprocity.) We ALL like comments, so if you link please DO spend time visiting others.  That is part of the fun as well.  We really like it if you link back to Poets United too, so we spread the Poetry Pantry word in the blogosphere.

Come back a few times on Sunday and Monday to see what's new.  Visit some strangers, and they will become new friends!  Making new friends and reading new poetry, what more could one want?

Also, don't forget to visit Poets United other days of the week.  For example, every Wednesday Kim posts a new "Verse First" prompt.  Hope you will join us there as well!  Sherry Blue Sky does a feature (it varies) on Monday, and Rosemary Nissen-Wade does "I Wish I'd Written This" every Friday!

If you are on Facebook, look for us there as well. Join our site.  It is one more way to stay in touch!

And now...here is the procedure, for those who are new here:  Each Sunday we start a new post with a New Mr. Linky for you. This is so that you can post a link to a poem in your blog. The link will close Monday at 12:00 p.m. (CDT), but you can still visit the links of those who have posted them.

Enjoy!













Friday, July 5, 2013

I Wish I'd Written This

The Mower

By Philip Larkin (1922 - 1985)

The mower stalled, twice; kneeling, I found   
A hedgehog jammed up against the blades,   
Killed. It had been in the long grass.

I had seen it before, and even fed it, once.   
Now I had mauled its unobtrusive world   
Unmendably. Burial was no help:

Next morning I got up and it did not.
The first day after a death, the new absence   
Is always the same; we should be careful

Of each other, we should be kind   
While there is still time.


British poet Philip Larkin's work is often regarded as gloomy and cynical.  I admire the way he combines formal rhyme and metre with clear, down-to-earth language. It's the opposite of consciously 'poetic' language,  though in fact he is masterly at finding the right, fresh words. However I don't exactly love his poetry, and could not see myself writing with such pessimism.   

But that's not all there is to him. The Mower confronts the facts head-on, as Larkin always appears to do; nevertheless it displays a tenderness which must have been part of the man, no less than his famous curmudgeonly persona. It's perhaps the only poem of Larkin's I'd like to have written — though I do also enjoy his most often quoted piece, This Be the Verse, which reveals his humour (albeit in this case a rather sardonic humour):

They f**k you up, your mum and dad. 
They may not mean to, but they do.

[etc.]

Larkin was a distinguished and innovative librarian, the author of two novels, and a respected critic of both literature and music. Although he produced only four slim volumes of poetry, he was so highly regarded that he was offered the position of Poet Laureate after John Betjeman died, but declined. He tended to steer clear of literary celebrity and said that he would like his poems to sound as if he was chatting to his mates in the pub.

He did, however, give readings of his work, some of which can be heard at his Poetry Archive entry.   Also he's on YouTube.

His biography at The Poetry Foundation discusses his poetics, and he was interviewed by The Paris Review.

All his books are still available on Amazon.

I'm grateful to him for being committed to making poetry accessible. In that, he was a major influence on 20th Century poetry.

Having written all that, I discover a wonderful article about him by Jacob Knowles-Smith in an earlier Poets United series, Poet History. This was written in December 2010. If, like me, you were unaware of it, do have a look. It covers material I don't, and I highly recommend it.



Poems and photos used in ‘I Wish I’d Written This’ remain the property of the copyright holders (usually their authors).