A poem that I read today by Mac

How many poets does it take to change a light bulb?
Macavity
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 6121
Joined: Tue May 10, 2005 10:29 am

Re: A poem that I read today by Mac

Post by Macavity » Sun Nov 17, 2019 3:36 am

England in 1819 By Percy Bysshe Shelley

An old, mad, blind, despised, and dying King;
Princes, the dregs of their dull race, who flow
Through public scorn,—mud from a muddy spring;
Rulers who neither see nor feel nor know,
But leechlike to their fainting country cling
Till they drop, blind in blood, without a blow.
A people starved and stabbed in th' untilled field;
An army, whom liberticide and prey
Makes as a two-edged sword to all who wield;
Golden and sanguine laws which tempt and slay;
Religion Christless, Godless—a book sealed;
A senate, Time’s worst statute, unrepealed—
Are graves from which a glorious Phantom may
Burst, to illumine our tempestuous day.
Just read two pg poems referencing Shelley's poem. Poems speak to poems and the conversation is so relevant in these times.

Dryanddeadwords
Productive Poster
Productive Poster
Posts: 53
Joined: Sun Nov 03, 2019 8:39 am

Re: A poem that I read today by Mac

Post by Dryanddeadwords » Sun Nov 17, 2019 3:49 am

It’s a terrific poem, and yes, troublingly apposite.

Dylan

Macavity
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 6121
Joined: Tue May 10, 2005 10:29 am

Re: A poem that I read today by Mac

Post by Macavity » Thu Nov 21, 2019 3:08 pm

This one is by Kathryn Simmonds. I have two books by her, Sunday at the Skin Launderette (a regular read for me) and The Visitations (not so often read)



She was a recent guest on Poetry Please:

https://www.bbc.co.uk/sounds/play/m0009rz0

Macavity
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 6121
Joined: Tue May 10, 2005 10:29 am

Re: A poem that I read today by Mac

Post by Macavity » Wed Nov 27, 2019 10:25 am

This one is by Gillian Clarke. I have her book Collected Poems (pub Carcanet).


Macavity
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 6121
Joined: Tue May 10, 2005 10:29 am

Re: A poem that I read today by Mac

Post by Macavity » Mon Dec 16, 2019 12:14 pm

This one is by Larkin I have his Collected Poems (faber) and a disc with him reading his poems. I like his readings.


bjondon
Prolific Poster
Prolific Poster
Posts: 729
Joined: Wed May 10, 2017 5:04 pm

Re: A poem that I read today by Mac

Post by bjondon » Thu Dec 19, 2019 7:07 pm

Enjoying the guided tour mac.
Can I return the favour with this
excellent one from Jen Hadfield:
poetryarchive.org/poem/aa

Jules

Macavity
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 6121
Joined: Tue May 10, 2005 10:29 am

Re: A poem that I read today by Mac

Post by Macavity » Sun Aug 02, 2020 12:06 pm

I thought I'd continue this thread in a more contemporary vein, though the fact the forum is not 'hidden' will be a copyright restriction on quoting entire poems.

These two poems are from the Nine Muses Poetry publication:

https://ninemusespoetry.com/2020/07/24/two-poems-by-ronnie-smith/

Particularly loved the scarlet lashes/besotted passers by image in the second poem. Also liked the use of maquillage and postpartum in the first poem. appearances deceive is a theme in both poems.

Macavity
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 6121
Joined: Tue May 10, 2005 10:29 am

Re: A poem that I read today by Mac

Post by Macavity » Mon Aug 03, 2020 5:51 am

I do enjoy poetry that conveys a sense of place, especially a rural setting, this one is in the High Window publication and is written by Lesley Quayle

https://thehighwindowpress.com/category/poetry/#Lesley%20Quayle

includes these lines that have that odour of authenticity :)
glacial meltwater beneath the fell,

not this sepia stream,
discoloured as old men’s

tobacco silted spit. Sheep piss.

Macavity
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 6121
Joined: Tue May 10, 2005 10:29 am

Re: A poem that I read today by Mac

Post by Macavity » Tue Aug 04, 2020 7:25 am

I don't mind 'fizz' in a poem, extrovert sounds, especially if it's a soundscape pattern of consonance and assonance rather than endline chimes. I feel in this poem, there's too much 'ugly' noise to begin with, though obviously the poet's intention is to structure the poem this way. However, there is a progression in the poem, it calms down, as the poet gets drawn into the 'quiet' of nature and then S3 has a pleasing pitch of sounds to celebrate the play. The splendid final line clinches my enjoyment of the poem - how often a concluding line 'rescues' or 'kills' a poem!

'City Foxes' by Annest Gwilym:

https://wordsforthewild.co.uk/?page_id=9921

Macavity
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 6121
Joined: Tue May 10, 2005 10:29 am

Re: A poem that I read today by Mac

Post by Macavity » Wed Aug 05, 2020 6:21 am

Like many readers, I enjoy an ekphrastic poem. Auden's Musée des Beaux Arts is a famous example.

One of the many attractions of poetry is sound and one of the tools to snare a reader is rhythm. Some contemporary poets seem to fear rhythm, that it is a formalist device that restricts and drags the voice into archaic forms and voices. It can, but I feel this phobia is a loss of one of the attractions in reading and writing poetry. Besides one can always reference cadence rather than rhythm to sound more contemporary :D

This elegant poem by Andrew Shields is from the London Grip publication. The opening grab is an illustration of how to get a reader's immediate attention and not preamble in your writing:
The peacock and the partridge are
not on speaking terms
To read on...

https://londongrip.co.uk/2020/02/london-grip-new-poetry-spring-2020/#shields

Macavity
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 6121
Joined: Tue May 10, 2005 10:29 am

Re: A poem that I read today by Mac

Post by Macavity » Thu Aug 06, 2020 2:35 am

I once had a rejection from an ezine telling me - well I have many rejections from ezines - but this one stated 'your poems do not resonate close-up'. Quite a specific rejection - as opposed to 'your poems are not suitable for....' At the time, I regarded the rejection as somewhat pompous, an editor smug on conceit, but it did make me think: I do have a preference for using persona, distancing, and 'I' in my poems is rarely 'me'.

The scary intimacy in this poem does 'resonate close-up'...

https://abegailmorley.wordpress.com/2020/08/05/helene-demetriades-familial-intimacy/

NotQuiteSure
Perspicacious Poster
Perspicacious Poster
Posts: 2168
Joined: Wed Dec 28, 2016 4:05 pm

Re: A poem that I read today by Mac

Post by NotQuiteSure » Thu Aug 06, 2020 12:16 pm

.
Just a quick thank you, mac.
Been enjoying this weeks recommendations.

Regards, Not

.

Macavity
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 6121
Joined: Tue May 10, 2005 10:29 am

Re: A poem that I read today by Mac

Post by Macavity » Fri Aug 07, 2020 8:30 pm

Good to know Not.

I've written a few poems where eggs make an appearance, usually at breakfast, so this one caught my attention:

https://atriumpoetry.com/2020/07/21/eggshells-and-fontanelles-finola-scott/

One of my favourite egg narratives:

https://www.northwordsnow.co.uk/issue35/Eggbox

and one of my own egg poems to end on:

http://londongrip.co.uk/2014/11/london-grip-new-poetry-winter-20145/#pwood

Macavity
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 6121
Joined: Tue May 10, 2005 10:29 am

Re: A poem that I read today by Mac

Post by Macavity » Sat Aug 08, 2020 3:39 pm

This poem has a blunt title, but then delivers on 'surprise' in the poem, which makes the subject fresh - the subject being humans brutal self-interest, there is a real sense of bullying in this.

The footnote gives a context, the historical consequence of blinkered behaviours...on reflection I've been reading a political poem as much as a nature one!

https://thepoetryvillage.com/2020/08/03/alison-binney-poetry/

Macavity
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 6121
Joined: Tue May 10, 2005 10:29 am

Re: A poem that I read today by Mac

Post by Macavity » Sun Aug 09, 2020 1:41 am

Short poems can travel a long way - inwards to outwards to inwards. As a consequence, I often find myself commenting more on a short poem in a workshop than a long poem. This poem starts with the statement Waves start somewhere and ends with the statement Waves start somewhere, which is a neat packaging, but ironic, for, of course, like many an effective poem, the waves continue beyond the poem...inwards to outwards to inwards...or to quote some of Ying Wu's lines
and feel the space

inside your mind


beyond the shores

of things you know
http://poetrypacific.blogspot.com/2020/05/1-poem-by-ying-wu.html

If I was a Dr Who fan, I'd probably reference Time and Relative Dimension in Space (the TARDIS... :D)

Macavity
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 6121
Joined: Tue May 10, 2005 10:29 am

Re: A poem that I read today by Mac

Post by Macavity » Mon Aug 10, 2020 4:56 am

Another short poem, this one is called Waning and is by Alan Cohen, and has an engaging delivery, a 'slightness' that threads content into form. It is not loud, almost if we are listening to the poet's whisper to himself, though the poem is addressed to the reader and prompts them to reflect on their own 'list':

https://thewildword.com/poetry-alan-cohen/

No use of 'I' in the poem, though the reader is aware the poet is sharing a private truth, but one that is inclusive and points to the inevitable vulnerability of us all. The observation extends beyond the self-absorbed. An obvious point, but why should a reader be interested in the self-absorbed write, or what I label as 'I' poetry?

Macavity
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 6121
Joined: Tue May 10, 2005 10:29 am

Re: A poem that I read today by Mac

Post by Macavity » Tue Aug 11, 2020 5:32 am

I remember someone on this forum responding to a poem that they have/will never write a good poem, but in a good year, they might write a good line. Such humility is not often found on poetry forums! :)

This is a poem by Alex Dimitrov in The New Yorker, where one line in particular resonated:

https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2020/06/08/more

What is a 'killer' line? Many answers to that one, here, for me, it is a meaning experienced but never articulated.

Macavity
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 6121
Joined: Tue May 10, 2005 10:29 am

Re: A poem that I read today by Mac

Post by Macavity » Wed Aug 12, 2020 4:46 am

A considered workshop response, because it is a 'workshop' response, will often say this part of the poem works and that part doesn't. A phrase used on PG in the past - 'that was worth the entrance fee' - focussed on the positive rather than amplified the negative. Outside workshop world, reading a poem without the critique button switched on, I zoom in on what I enjoy and don't waste too much time on what I don't.

I found myself re-reading, enjoying, the first part of Susie Wild's poem in IST several times and not bothering to read the second part of the poem. I'd say, in workshop speak, that was the poem. This one is called Nude, smoking, in the dawn doorway. A 'read me' title!

http://www.inksweatandtears.co.uk/pages/?p=22448

Macavity
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 6121
Joined: Tue May 10, 2005 10:29 am

Re: A poem that I read today by Mac

Post by Macavity » Thu Aug 13, 2020 5:16 am

I thought there was a typo in this, but the word was one unknown to me. A simple pleasure, but I like discovering new words in the context of a poem.

Long Time a Child by Hartley Coleridge

Long time a child, and still a child, when years
Had painted manhood on my cheek, was I, —
For yet I lived like one not born to die;
A thriftless prodigal of smiles and tears,
No hope I needed, and I knew no fears.
But sleep, though sweet, is only sleep, and waking,
I waked to sleep no more, at once o’ertaking
The vanguard of my age, with all arrears
Of duty on my back. Nor child, nor man,
Nor youth, nor sage, I find my head is grey,
For I have lost the race I never ran:
A rathe December blights my lagging May;
And still I am a child, though I be old:
Time is my debtor for my years untold.

=================================================================================

An interesting response on the poem can be found here:

https://www.theguardian.com/books/booksblog/2020/aug/03/poem-of-the-week-long-time-a-child-by-hartley-coleridge

I can't say I agree with some of the C21 slant in Rumens's reading, but then poetry is not maths, and the reading outcomes are not fixed:
The unexpected image of the painted cheek is a significant one: the painting of a cheek is associated more usually with female cosmetic arts than male maturity. It may suggest a certain dandyism in the speaker, of course, or a deeper uncertainty about gender. It implies, at least, that manhood itself is an uncertain concept, something that might be wiped off a surface of skin as lightly as it’s painted on.
There is a further link in the piece that provides a fascinating essay on relationships in the writing/family group, especially on father/son relationships:
STC started pressuring Hartley to go north, but first he wrote to warn Dawes about what to expect. STC’s letter to Dawes is a defense of how he raised his two sons. STC is fairly objective about Hartley, less so about himself. His letter arouses suspicion because it protests too much, and because it ignores the bald fact (a fact that Dawes may not have known) that STC was never much around to raise his boys in the years before they went to school. It answers the accusation that STC should have disciplined his boys more, by way of educing the attitudes and habits required by adult life. But STC explains to Dawes that Hartley was such a good child, “that I did not interrupt his quiet, untroublesome enjoyment by forcing him to sit still, and inventing occasions of trying his obedience—that I did not . . . interrupt his little comforts and sting him into a will of resistance against my will, in order that I might make opportunities of crushing it.”

He does not totally defend his Rousseauian approach; in fact he implies criticism of it. He accuses himself of “perhaps a too delicate manner of applying to [the boys’] understandings and moral sense.” That is, STC has tried, as Rousseau recommended, to see Hartley’s and Derwent’s points of view and talk reasonably to them. By doing this, he fears, “I have in Hartley’s case unwittingly fostered that cowardice as to mental pain which forms one of the two calamitous defects in his disposition.” The other defect (for which STC assumes no responsibility) is “the absence of a Self . . . the want or torpor of a Will, that is the moral Sickness of Hartley’s being and has been, for good and for evil, his character — his moral idiocy — from his earliest childhood.”
https://dooneyscafe.com/poet-and-son-hartley-coleridge-5/

A characteristic piece of Coleridge/paternal self-deception on responsibility.

Macavity
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 6121
Joined: Tue May 10, 2005 10:29 am

Re: A poem that I read today by Mac

Post by Macavity » Fri Aug 14, 2020 2:53 am

I rarely read poems in isolation. One of my reading pleasures is to take a couple of books, from different poets, and read an individual poem from each book and thereby creating a random anthology, tuning into a theme that has always interested me: the conversation of poems. How does one poem influence the reading of another? Of course, this happens frequently on 'busy' poetry forums, but how often is a poster conscious that their poem is not read in 'isolation' and the 'mood' of one reading may be carried into the reading of another.

Oz Hardwick – An Index of Mood Swings

https://abegailmorley.wordpress.com/2020/08/11/oz-hardwick-an-index-of-mood-swings/

Enantiodromia by Despy Boutris

https://califragile.org/2020/06/18/enantiodromia-by-despy-boutris/

The first poem is a prose poem. I went to a reading by Simon Armitage and he said that the 'prose poem' label was an academic one: poetry is poetry. Well, this poem looks like prose, there is no cosmetic of line-breaks to pretend otherwise. 'You open your mouth, but it's the wrong shape for situations like these' is a sentence that caught my interest and made me realise my reader focus was one that I bring to poetry not prose (perhaps the invitation is there to read the piece in that mode). However, when I read the piece outloud, the 'sound of the thing' felt like prose.

The second poem had the kind of line-breaks that don't work for me, the false drama of breaking lines on pronouns like 'we' and 'I'. It's what I call snapping a line or what others label 'chopped up prose'. Ironic response in that context of Hardwick's poem, which had no such distractions! 'love/is a practiced crucifixion' was the notion that caught my interest and made me realise I don't really care about whether a poem is poem. Gold is gold...except fool's gold that is :D

Macavity
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 6121
Joined: Tue May 10, 2005 10:29 am

Re: A poem that I read today by Mac

Post by Macavity » Sat Aug 15, 2020 2:21 am

The history of poetry is littered with definitions of what poetry is. Folk become quite vocal about the subject.

This poem by Teo Eve in Streetcake plays with space, the visual expresses and reinforces meaning:

https://www.streetcakemagazine.com/uploads/2/4/7/1/24713274/issue_68_part1__1_.pdf#page=22&zoom=auto,-27,742

There are sonic elements in Eve's poem, but it resists those parameters that confine poetry to an aural/oral medium.

This poem by Amanda Earl...when sonics, and words, are sucked into the page:

https://www.streetcakemagazine.com/uploads/2/4/7/1/24713274/issue_68_part1__1_.pdf#page=21&zoom=auto,-27,809

:D love it

Some of those individual links are quite slow to load, need to be copied into the address bar, for the whole mag experience try:

https://www.streetcakemagazine.com/issue.html

Eve's poem is on page 22 and Earl's poem is on page 21.

Macavity
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 6121
Joined: Tue May 10, 2005 10:29 am

Re: A poem that I read today by Mac

Post by Macavity » Sun Aug 16, 2020 5:14 am

Another breakfast poem :D , but the mention of eggs/marmalade/toast...could not resist, despite the suggested unhealthiness of it all...butter jewelled under a slick of marmalade.

This poem is by Alison Hackett is called 'The Last Two Pots of Marmalade':

https://www.poetryireland.ie/publications/poetry-ireland-review/online-archive/view/the-last-two-pots-of-marmalade

I like the sound of words, enjoy a soundscape, a poem attentive to the thread of word sounds, not clustered, but sounds that stitch and bind a poem's meaning/sound.
the plop of an egg roiling in boiling water,
steaming porridge sprinkled with salt
and sometimes a dollop of cream.
Here, the exuberance, and the underlying excess, is conveyed through the sonics. The closeness of roiling/boiling overdoes the effect, but plop/dollop repetition is timed to layer-on the meaning in sound. Never too enamoured by too much -ing: listening/whistling/roiling/boiling/steaming. But that black/slick/fleck sonic thread conveys the 'edge' - or as the poem concludes, the bitterness of the 'citrus tang' through the 'creamy sweetness'...the sweet/bitter memories of loss.

Macavity
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 6121
Joined: Tue May 10, 2005 10:29 am

Re: A poem that I read today by Mac

Post by Macavity » Mon Aug 17, 2020 6:25 am

I once went to a writing class, for short story writing, and was asked by the tutor what genre did I write. I had not thought of writing in genre and did not have an answer. The tutor was unimpressed.

I found this poem by Mary Franklin in the poetry journal Three Drops from A Cauldron, a genre journal for myth, legend, folklore, fable and fairytale. Mary shared her poems on another forum I used to frequent, but is now closed. This particular journal is taking an 'hiatus'.

https://threedropspoetry.co.uk/2016/06/08/orchardist-by-mary-franklin/

A folklore poem which has that winning formula of fantasy resonating into the context of reality.

Macavity
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 6121
Joined: Tue May 10, 2005 10:29 am

Re: A poem that I read today by Mac

Post by Macavity » Tue Aug 18, 2020 6:33 am

'the poem is trying too hard ...' is a comment you find in workshops. Despite the supercilious tone, the implication in that dismissive judgement that the reader has a superior understanding of poetry craft than the poet, there is a truth. Samuel Johnson criticised the metaphysical poets - The most heterogeneous ideas are yoked by violence together - and Keats dismissed poetry that had a 'palpable design'. There is a self-conscious effort that can make the poem laboured, contrived, and unconvincing ie 'trying too hard'.

This is a poem by Richard McCaffery called 'Snowdrops':

https://atriumpoetry.com/2020/08/14/snowdrops-richie-mccaffery/

Here the poet is not forcing the conceit, but sharing the connections with the reader, allowing the reader to make connections. There is a poignant threading of graveyard humour, unsentimental stark reality of death, a whimsical play to overlay the reality/belief that God does not exist - a strategy for the faithless. Seasons in nature, the cycle of renewal, as well as the inevitable endings, is also in the poem: snowdrops are said to symbolize hope.

Macavity
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 6121
Joined: Tue May 10, 2005 10:29 am

Re: A poem that I read today by Mac

Post by Macavity » Wed Aug 19, 2020 4:51 am

It is natural to seek validation through readers, whether in workshops or being published, but that need can suck the life out of writing. The poet's creativity dries up.

I get the impression with Sheenagh Pugh's poems that the writing process is part of life. No point waiting around for the 'Muse', life is there to be lived and that means writing poems.

http://theislandreview.com/content/poetry-sheenagh-pugh-north-wind-shetland

She showed some foresight in writing that 'statue' poem.

Post Reply