Category: poetry

thing 46: ‘this, too, was myself’: reading from a book with my name on the cover

At moments of crisis Bertie Wooster often tells Jeeves that he could a tale unfold whose lightest word would harrow up the soul and cause the old knotted and combined locks to do the fretful porpentine thing (or some Woosterish version of that). For Bertie, the problem might involve an accidental engagement with some droopy girl who thinks that raindrops are God’s tears at our unkindness; or (more…)

oyez, oyez, oyez!

This isn’t a thing, but feels like a culmination of an awful lot of things.

It’s a quick post to unveil my new website, which is dedicated to poetry. The new site has come about because an actual press is going to be publishing two actual pamphlets of my poems, one of which will have an actual ISBN number (more…)

not really a Thing… but exciting

Some definitions:

Poetry: ‘what makes the invisible appear’ (according to Nathalie Sarraute); ‘the revelation of the self to the self’ (Ted Hughes).

Hope: a feeling of expectation and desire for a particular thing to happen.

Fear: an unpleasant emotion caused by the threat of danger, pain, or harm.

Ambivalence: the state of having mixed feelings or contradictory ideas about something or someone.

And… (more…)

thing 30: ‘we are the wood drake’: reading together

‘… and then you’d think aha! something interesting is going to happen and then someone would mention Derrida and it would all be over…’

Thus my friend Simon, speaking about his time reading English at Oxford and the death-by-theory thing which can so often happen during formal study. I know what he means. In my very first group supervision at Cambridge we were issued copies of a poem—I have repressed the knowledge of what it was, if I ever knew—and the Director of Studies’ opening gambit (more…)

‘loveliest of trees, the cherry now’, AE Housman

You can read this poem here.

This is one of those poems I read and simply think, ‘Yes’. The simplicity of the rhyme-scheme and the regularity of the metre feel part of the irrefutability of what the poem has to say. It seems very Housman that he’s feeling such a drive to make the most of his time at the not-very-old-really age of twenty! I started mentally re-writing stanza two to say ‘Now of my threescore years and ten/Fifty will not come again’ and then realised it was all going to go wrong at the end of life three, so abandoned that… But however premature his worry may seem, about running out of time, his point stands: that spring is a time when we may connect with the joy of renewal, the beauty of the world, and the anguish of our own fleetingness. I think Housman has it right, though. The only thing to do, in the end, is make the most of what you get. About the woodlands let us go…