Poetry thread

Sitting here with a copy of The Rattle Bag which is apparently ‘a big deal’ in poetry anthology circles (eds. Seamis Heaney & Ted Hughes). It’s in alphabetical order by title of poem, so totally disordered in a very good way.

I’d forgotten how much I like poetry—what are some of your favourites? Any good poets about? Anybody here to give poetry a good kick up the ass? Any of YOU dabble in writing?

Here’s the one that made me want to start a thread:

Could mortal lip divine
The undeveloped Freight
Of a delivered syllable
'Twould crumble with the weight.

(Emily Dickinson)


I never got poetry till we read Edwin Morgan at school and then it all started to make sense

A little while ago I happened across Neruda, who reignited my passion for poetry. Very idiosyncratic, totally sublime. Love it when you make these oversights and they give you a bit more mileage out of things.

Holderlin, William Carlos Williams, Lorca, Rimbaud, Sylvia Plath, and Dylan Thomas are my favourites.

Celan’s pretty interesting - very elliptical and enigmatic, but obviously marked by his family’s history with concentration camps.


Sounds excellent—will investigate

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I like ted hughes but he was a bad man. All the men are bad men. :expressionless:


I don’t really have a clue about modern poetry - nothing feels very important about it. Not sure why that is, so if there’s anyone who will change my mind, go ahead and apprise this ignorant fool!

I like Ryokan, a hermit monk from eighteenth century Japan who lived alone in the woods and wrote Zen poetry celebrating nature. My kind of guy.

A cold night - sitting alone in my empty room
Filled only with incense smoke.
Outside, a bamboo grove of a hundred trees;
On the bed, several volumes of poetry.
The moon shines through the top of the window
And the entire neighbourhood is still except the cry of insects
Looking at this scene, limitless emotion
But not one word.


I have part of an Emily Dickinson poem on my wall
Stevie Smith was good too & also did mint pictures with hers.

Don’t really know anything though. ordered a kindle and when it arrives I’m gonna buy some poetry stuff

Big fan of Ryokan. Read a lot of the poems in One Robe, One Bowl (I think it’s called) on a meditation retreat a while back. Great guy.

I’m trying to understand Gerard Manley Hopkins at the moment and completely failing. Don’t know enough about religion, I think that’s the problem

I taught him at Nat 5 this year - first time I’d read his stuff and I really like him.

Just try and enjoy how musical and rhythmic he is then! Can’t say I’m too keen either though. Main deal with him (to be reductive) was the tension between his faith and his homosexuality.

One Robe, One Bowl is the one I have. I picked it up on a whim in a charity shop a few years ago, and it turned out I really, really, liked it.

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Warsan Shire is well worth checking out.

Never really read him, but all the poems by the Beats about him are pretty cool, so I should probably get to it too!

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Yeah, I think our sense of reality suffers a deadening effect through overexposure and art kind of restores us to it - scrapes away the calluses by mirroring while being heightened to a certain intensity. And I know some of the Beats had WCW as a mentor-type figure so it’s entirely possible!

Anyone got any fave poems? Seems like they’re the best way to read stuff bump.

Definitely think it’s the quickest way to read good stuff, there’s more joy condensed into a good sonnet than spread over a terrible novel.

All depends what you like though.

Here’s a poem I think about a lot when the weather is hot, To Speak of the Woe That is in Marriage by Robert Lowell, one of my faves:

The hot night makes us keep our bedroom windows open.
Our magnolia blossoms. Life begins to happen.
My hopped up husband drops his home disputes,
and hits the streets to cruise for prostitutes,
free-lancing out along the razor’s edge.
This screwball might kill his wife, then take the pledge.
Oh the monotonous meanness of his lust. . .
It’s the injustice . . . he is so unjust–
whiskey-blind, swaggering home at five.
My only thought is how to keep alive.
What makes him tick? Each night now I tie
ten dollars and his car key to my thigh. . . .
Gored by the climacteric of his want,
he stalls above me like an elephant.

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Rattle Bag is good as mentioned in the op - such a mix that it’s hard to get into reading many in a row, just good to have visible on a shelf for a quick fix of something funny or profound.

I really like John Berryman’s Dream Songs, they’re a bit confusing in a kind of Joycean tumble of language way, but I like to have that in poetry, where it feels like the meaning is just out of reach, or you can get deeper and deeper by turning it over in your mind.

Biggest thing for me is I have to read poems aloud to get a lot from them. Brings out the music in them and makes sense of phrases which I find difficult to interpret just written down.

Also I do write a bit. Treat it basically as a diary/self-therapy/joke book where I also get to play around with words. Have occasionally performed at open mic things, which is fun, but only suits a certain type of thing I write, and also is quite nerve-racking. Keep meaning to do it more though.

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