In which I talk poetry books and surprise no one by admitting that I was the sort of kid that memorised poems and rhymes for the fun of it. Which would be embarrassing enough, but I can still remember most of them, which really leaves very little room in my head for the more important things in life.
I remember actually loving poetry at school, and being deeply affected by things such as Wilfred Owen’s war poems (Dulce et Decorum Est still gives me shivers). It wasn’t anything I was very good at writing myself, but the careful and precise choice of words fascinated me, the fitting them to a rhythm, then the way that rhythm made them something more. Then there was the other side, too, the way that so much can be said by leaving words out (such as in William Carlos Williams’ The Red Wheelbarrow, or This is Just to Say).
Since school, of course, I’ve read very little poetry, and I certainly haven’t tried writing any of it myself (unless you count some goofy attempts at Christmas carols). I’m just out of the habit, and it always seems to me that you can’t just read a poem. You need to taste it, think about it, roll it around in your mind and give it some respect. Even more than books, maybe, there’s so much beyond what is actually said. So I’m not very good at reading them anymore. Which is a shame, really.
That said – here are the poetry books I have picked up over the years, plus my shameless recitations of the ones I still remember from being that weird kid…
How about you, lovely people? Do you read or write poetry? Why or why not? And what would you recommend to me, if I was to start reading it again? Let me know below!