National Poetry Day, 2017


Yet did I never breathe its pure serene
Till I heard Chapman speak out loud and bold:
Then felt I like some watcher of the skies
 When a new planet swims into his ken;
                                                  (John Keats)

The first time I realised people attached significance to poetry, other than it being something that just (usually) rhymed, was when at about 13 years old, I read (and then re-read a million times because I became slightly obsessed) M. E. Kerr’s I Stay Near You. Herkerr first protagonist, the ugly-duckling-turned-swan Mildred Cone, falls in love with a poem she studies in class, a poem by Edna St. Vincent Millay. Even now, all these years later, I can still remember my feverish attempts to find this poem in the pre-Google era.

Since then, I have read and loved many, many other poems. Usually they’re ones that I’ve explored in classes with students. I generally turn to novels  when I have time to read, but there’s nothing quite like a brilliantly-constructed poetic piece to make you see something anew or to make you an emotional mess. I’m glad we have a ‘special’ day for poetry – it reminds me to step back and re-read some of the poems I have loved.

Because it’s National Poetry Day, I have indulged myself by listing just a few of my all-time favourites (in no particular order):

John Keats – On First Reading Chapman’s Homer

Lord Byron – She Walks in Beauty

Carol Ann Duffy – In Mrs Tilscher’s Class; Last Post

Lawrence Ferlinghetti – A Coney Island of the Mind1914

Adam Foulds – The Broken Word

Christopher Reid – A Scattering

Emily Dickinson – Wild Nights! Wild Nights!

Wilfred Owen – Futility

Allan Ginsberg – Howl

Sylvia Plath – You’re

I’d love to know what other readers have enjoyed – please let me know what else I should read!

4 thoughts on “National Poetry Day, 2017

  1. Again, in no particular order and I may add to it during the day-

    Keats ‘Hyperion’
    Yeats ‘Lake Isle of Innisfree
    Carol Anne Duffy ‘words, wide night’
    Yeats ‘Had I the Heavens’ Embroidered Cloths
    Ted Hughes ‘ GRiefs for Dead Soldiers
    The Mersey Sound
    Christina Rossetti My Heart is Like a Singing Bird

    Liked by 1 person

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