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Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Can't move for poets

I've always claimed to enjoy poetry but if the truth is told, my knowledge is fairly sketchy and concentrated mainly on those we studied at school - Larkin was the highlight - and a few others including Ted Hughes, Sylvia Plath, Wilfred Owen, John Masefield and Paul Durcan.

So, shocking gaps (sorry Mrs Bush) and I certainly won't be making Faber & Faber rich. Coincidentally, upon learning about the BBC's Poetry Season, it seemed that suddenly poets were all around us, to quote Wet Wet Wet. In one issue of the Times, Chris Woodhead mentioned his favourite poet Geoffrey Hill. Alice Oswald was reviewed. Carol Ann Duffy became Poet Laureate. And there wss an obituary of one Ursula Fanthorpe, poet aged 79.

I was ashamed not to know any of those poets, not even Carol Ann, so I have requests flying out on Read It Swap It and I've been perusing Ebay. I've discovered dozens of poetry websites- whatever would we do without the internet! Poem Hunter has a top 500 poems and the top 10 is quite baffling, including a Roger McGough (brother of Lily the Pink?) and a Roald Dahl, and topped by Maya Angelou.

On the subject of the BBC's Poetry Season, there was a programme where children recited poems, won by an Iranian born boy for whom English is a swcond language. Heart warming indeed. But I don't think I'll ever be able to listen to Masefield's Sea Fever ever again. I will always remember the theatrical arm movements and earnest gurning of some of the competitors. "I MUST go down to the seas again".....

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