Posts tagged poetry

Bottled Air by Caleb Klaces

I read this book twice in quick succession. It’s only a short collection, 70 pages of generously-spaced poems and a few pages of notes, so it didn’t take long. Interestingly, the two readings were very different. The first time, I didn’t really understand the poems, but loved the way they made me feel. The words washed over me and I enjoyed them for their rhythm and arrangement. It was a bit like listening to a pop song in a foreign language. The second time I read it with the benefit… Read More

Test of stamina at Bim Literary Festival, day two

Wow. That was intense. Three hours on a hard bench listening to poetry readings with no break and no refreshments. That’s a real test. Luckily it was an open-air event, on the boardwalk at Hastings (the Barbados one, not the UK one). It was easy to get up and stretch your legs occasionally, and the view helped. The occasion was an event called Bim Rock Variations, part of the inaugural Bim Literary Festival. (By the way, I should have mentioned earlier that “Bim” is an informal name that Barbadians use… Read More

Giveaway: “The World’s Wife” by Carol Ann Duffy

I picked up a free copy of this in New Beacon Books – there was a stack of them left over from World Book Night earlier this year. It says inside the back cover that I’m supposed to pass it on to someone else to read and enjoy, so if you’d like a copy, please leave a comment on this post. I’ll select the winner randomly, and am happy to send the book anywhere, worldwide. It’s a collection of poems all on the same theme of overturning male-centred history, literature… Read More

“Crow” by Ted Hughes

I rarely read poetry, but I enjoyed this strange little book by Ted Hughes. It’s full of dark imagery, violence and unexpected humour. The poems read like myths of the origins of the world, except that at the middle of them all is Crow, this anarchic, chaotic, ugly, violent figure, playing tricks on God and turning creation upside-down. I was reminded of the Anansi figure in West Indian Folk Tales, himself of course of West African origin. I suspect Hughes drew on a lot of mythological sources in these poems,… Read More

“T.S. Eliot” by Peter Ackroyd

I hardly ever read poetry, but for some reason T.S. Eliot’s poetry speaks to me. Perhaps it’s because, like Eliot, I used to work at a bank in the City of London, and the feeling of his poems is the exact feeling I had as a ‘Hollow Man’ looking at the masses of other Hollow Men crossing London Bridge to the Waste Land of the City. “I had not thought death had undone so many” – lines like that just express so much for me. So I was happy to… Read More

Wislawa Szymborska

Just discovered the work of Wislawa Szymborska through a poem reprinted in an old edition of New Internationalist from last year. It was called Psalm and I thought it was a beautiful and humorous poem, perfectly illustrating the absurdity of man-made borders. Here are the first few lines to give an idea: How leaky are the borders we draw around our separate nations! How many clouds cross those boundaries daily, without even paying the toll! She goes on to list all kinds of animals, stones, fog, etc., permeating the borders… Read More