Sunday, June 8, 2014

Poetry Afternoon

Melanie, the manager is initiating a poetry afternoon for the residents. I suppose, as the poet in our midst, it has been organised more or less in my honour. I shall be expected to read something from my new collection Others will read old favourites.  I hope not too many selections from Junior school curricula.  I learnt so many off by heart in my youth and I find most of them only too familiar and often rather painful to listen to. Allan has promised to read an old ballad in dialect which will make a nice change. I am a literary snob, I know. I must try my best to be appreciative. I really do want to foster the love of poetry and this is where it starts. There is not much hope of changing people's tastes, but perhaps I could introduce some of the really good modern poetry which I have been learning about recently

I should not be so scornful. My superior attitude is not based on a wide knowledge of poetic literature. Quite the contrary. I hardly read a line of poetry after I left school. Only after starting to write the stuff myself and joining Finuala's workshop group did I read anything written after the first years of the last century.

Lately I have been attending Hugh's Poetry School. He has not only taught us  about the proper use of simile and metaphor, but has introduced us to several different forms and got us to try our hands at some of them.
So far we have studied sonnets, villanelles and haikus( I missed that lesson I am glad to say- I just can't manage the form at all, although I can see the value of the discipline of having to distill one's thoughts into a few syllables) The latest form was the pantoum. I have come across this before. Eugenie is very fond of pantoums. Until now I have thought writing them a futile exercise. However when I tried to write a short form of pantoum and gave myself the added problem of writing it in rhyming couplets, I was quite pleased with the result.

After spending quite a lot of time on these exercises I have come to the conclusion that certain subjects require certain kinds of poetry. One can't imagine the poem 'One Art" for instance being written in any form other than a Villanelle and the thoughts expressed in "Westminster Bridge" could only have been conveyed   in a sonnet.