For a few years now, my local council seems to have been on a mission gratuitously to cut down trees. I get that sometimes this is necessary; but the info-about-works relating to one copse up on the fell near my house gave, as the reason for felling, “felling”. Hmm. Another glorious maple on the green was cut down because it was a Canadian maple, and therefore non-native, and therefore… well, what?? So sad. I don’t know if it’s consoling (as in we read to know we are not alone) or even more depressing to find this poem, ‘The Trees are Down‘ by Charlotte Mew, in which the poet laments exactly the same thing. (There’s a rather good reading of it here.) It was written almost exactly a hundred years ago. Plus ca change.Read More
The silent watches of the night haven’t been so silent of late. I live just round the corner from a popular pub, so some of the noise has had to do with En-ger-land (glad that’s over). But a lot has been generated by some extremely vocal owls who have, I swear, taken to sitting on a windowsill very near me in order to have protracted conversations in the small hours. It’s so loud! Fortunately, it’s lovely too.
Owls seem to be one of those things lots of poets bang on about. Edward Thomas’s ‘The Owl‘ is one of my favourites.Read More
Particularly when it’s hard to write, as it has been for me for a while, it can be really useful to think about why we do it. I imagine this “reasons to write” series could go on for some time! Today’s instalment comes to us courtesy of Nikki Grimes: ‘Poems’.Read More
For wild swimming, that is (or, as a friend of mine commented acidly the other day, “what we used to call going for a swim in the river“). Whatever we call it, it’s one of the pleasures of summer for me. So I was delighted to find this poem online and thus be able to share with you ‘Skinny-Dipping in Vathy‘ by Barbara Quick.Read More
Louise Glück, winner of the 2020 Nobel Prize for literature, has said: “Writing is a kind of revenge against circumstance… : bad luck, loss, pain. If you make something out of it, then you’ve no longer been bested by these events.” That makes so much sense to me. Sometimes writing does feel alchemical (in intent, anyway!), and reading Gluck’s comment inspires me to share one of the poems where I was attempting to turn base metal into gold…Read More
Nigel writes: I don’t know if you’re the same but I have on my shelves a small collection of poetry books which I constantly revisit. Like old friends I can rely on them to lift the spirits when they’re low, distract me for a pleasant hour or two, and offer me words of wisdom and inspiration when I need them.Read More
I’m delighted to let you know that this week’s poetry column will be guest-authored for us by Nigel Kent, a poet and reviewer who’s a fellow Hedgehog Press poet. His piece will be out on Thursday at 11, as usual, and will look at a piece by Ted Kooser. I’m looking forward to being introduced to a new poet. See you then!
Someone brought ‘Child waking’ by Edith Scovell to the 42 group last week. The poet’s name was vaguely familiar but I had no sense of her work. I loved ‘Child waking’, though, so since then I’ve been scuttling about the interweb looking for Scovell’s work. And I give you: ‘Deaths of Flowers‘.Read More