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The Book Nook
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Shaker
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 25, 2009 1:33 am    Post subject:  Reply with quote

Isn't he marvelous? As I say, I wasn't wholly familiar, though I was vaguely aware of him and misjudged him as a sort of Scouse John Betjeman, writing humorous but perhaps a little shallow light verse.

How wrong could I have been. I changed my mind about Betjeman when I started reading him properly and I've certainly changed my mind about RM too. I curled up a few hours ago with his Collected Poems and I'm absolutely blown away by many of his poems. His 'Conservative Government Unemployment Figures' sticks in my mind, to wit:

Quote:
Conservative government.
Unemployment?
Figures.


Genius  

Tony Harrison's poems about his background - a working class Leeds lad who turns out to be bookish and literate, goes on to university, ends up as a serious published poet to the pride but incomprehension of his parents - are amazing.

I'm coming round on Rudyard Kipling, too. I always used to be put off by his narrative poems (Danny Deever and the like) for which he's best known, but when he's steps out of Robert Browning mode and writes personally, he's sublime. Some of the poems he wrote about his son Jack, killed in the First World War, are unbearable. His Complete Verse is now on my Christmas list

ETA: I seem to remember, you're a poet yourself aren't you, Lexi? Oak_King too, as I recall - he posted one of his poems here once, by which I was very impressed. Talented bunch we've got here  
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LornaDoone40
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 30, 2009 3:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Would thoroughly recommend Perfume - The Story of a Murderer by Patrik Suskind.

Fascinating concept (a man born without a sense of smell and how that effects his humanity and his view of humanity) and an extremely absorbing read. Stunningly lyrical and poetical.
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Lexilogio
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 30, 2009 9:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
ETA: I seem to remember, you're a poet yourself aren't you, Lexi? Oak_King too, as I recall - he posted one of his poems here once, by which I was very impressed. Talented bunch we've got here  


I've written the odd thing - but I don't get so much time now.

This is one of mine:

Untitled

There are no words today.
This morning, they took to the sky
and flew instinctively south;
seeking lovers in the heat of summer.
But Here remains, silent,
with clouds of mediocrity
following the traffic of city life.
Even the air is still;
no wind, no chilled bite,
only an empty sense
that something is missing.
And something has passed.

There are no words today.
They passed the paragraphs
on their way out.
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LornaDoone40
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 01, 2009 9:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Lexi - honestly, that is really very good indeed.  
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Shaker
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 02, 2009 11:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Seconded - I envy anybody with a talent for words like that.

Talking of poetry (still): just got the Collected Poems 1945-1990 of R.S. Thomas. And I'm currently reading Andrew Motion's magnificent biography of Philip Larkin.

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Lexilogio
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 02, 2009 11:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you  

I only discovered Philip Larkin this year. I'd thought of him as some boring middle class type until I discovered the poems which don't go on the school curriculum.

As modern poets I'd seriously recommend Maura Dooley. I can remember feeling very disappointed when I had a rejection letter for some poems. Then opened a copy of the magazine I had sent them to - to see her work on the first page. I read it, and completely understood why they had rejected mine.
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Shaker
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 02, 2009 11:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm sure things have changed enormously in the twenty years since I was at school but somehow I doubt that 'This Be the Verse' and 'Love Again' are on the curriculum even these days  
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LornaDoone40
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 03, 2009 9:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

D'you know, I am feeling very lucky right now.

Our school was blessed with the most fantastic English teachers - and whilst poems like 'This Be The Verse' were never officially on the curriculum, they still made us aware of them. (I intend to give my son a copy for christmas this year - i think he will really appreciate it).

For those not in the know:

This Be The Verse - by Phillip Larkin

They fuck you up, your mum and dad.
 They may not mean to, but they do.
They fill you with the faults they had
 And add some extra, just for you.

But they were fucked up in their turn
 By fools in old-style hats and coats,
Who half the time were soppy-stern
 And half at one another's throats.

Man hands on misery to man.
 It deepens like a coastal shelf.
Get out as early as you can,
 And don't have any kids yourself.

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Lexilogio
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 03, 2009 9:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think that one should be on the national curriculum for 15 year olds.

If you are ever going to interest a wider group into poetry - that is one poem which might just succeed.
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Dave B
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 03, 2009 10:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Lexilogio wrote:
I think that one should be on the national curriculum for 15 year olds.

If you are ever going to interest a wider group into poetry - that is one poem which might just succeed.



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