jazzy_dave: (Default)
Ted Hughes "Poetry In The Making" (Faber and Faber)

This is a student friendly discussion of what Ted Hughes calls "imaginative writings" and are drawn from The BBC program"Listening and Writing". He selects various writings from contemporary modern poets to illustrate his essays and thesis,and in particular - Larkin, Dickenson, Eliot,Plath and himself, to convey a sense that poetry can be made by beginners and how to go about it. As a primer on how to write poetry and improve the creative process, this short book of 128 pages is ideal. It is also an effective introduction to his work and that of other poets who have influenced him.
jazzy_dave: (Default)
Simon Armitage "Gawain And The Green Knight" (Faber & Faber)

Armitage's translation has much more going for it than an introduction which favours my understanding of the old English text.

King Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table enjoy a Christmas celebration. But, along comes a huge green knight who goads them into accepting a challenge. In order to protect King Arthur, Sir Gawain agrees to the challenge. He must make one blow with his sword against the Green Knight today, then in one year Sir Gawain must come and find the Green Knight and receive one blow from him. Well, Sir Gawain chops his head off in one blow, but the Green Knight picks up his head and laughingly gallops off. You'll have to read it to see what happens.

It zips along, with modern diction and a translation which is more poetic than literal. A few times I felt like his word choices were a bit too silly but, looking at the original text on the facing page, it always appeared (to my very inexpert eye) that his choices were well supported (the Gawain poet was not above silliness!). It's been a long time since I last read Sir Gawain, and I'd forgotten what a great poem it is – beautiful, funny, and moving. Armitage's looser translation is really marvellous!
jazzy_dave: (reflective mood)
Time for some music methinks -

1 Giant Leap feat.Michael Franti - Passion

More grooves here )
jazzy_dave: (beckett thoughts)
Just realized that i have not done a poetry post for awhile so to make amneds here are three recent faves.

A Sad Child


You're sad because you're sad.
It's psychic. It's the age. It's chemical.
Go see a shrink or take a pill,
or hug your sadness like an eyeless doll
you need to sleep.

Well, all children are sad
but some get over it.
Count your blessings. Better than that,
buy a hat. Buy a coat or pet.
Take up dancing to forget.

Forget what?
Your sadness, your shadow,
whatever it was that was done to you
the day of the lawn party
when you came inside flushed with the sun,
your mouth sulky with sugar,
in your new dress with the ribbon
and the ice-cream smear,
and said to yourself in the bathroom,
I am not the favorite child.

My darling, when it comes
right down to it
and the light fails and the fog rolls in
and you're trapped in your overturned body
under a blanket or burning car,

and the red flame is seeping out of you
and igniting the tarmac beside your head
or else the floor, or else the pillow,
none of us is;
or else we all are.

Do Not!


Do not despair of man, and do not scold him,
Who are you that you should so lightly hold him?
Are you not also a man, and in your heart
Are there not warlike thoughts and fear and smart?
Are you not also afraid and in fear cruel,
Do you not think of yourself as usual,
Faint for ambition, desire to be loved,
Prick at a virtuous thought by beauty moved?
You love your wife, you hold your children dear,
Then say not that Man is vile, but say they are.
But they are not. So is your judgement shown
Presumptuous, false, quite vain, merely your own
Sadness for failed ambition set outside,
Made a philosophy of, prinked, beautified
In noble dress and into the world sent out
To run with the ill it most pretends to rout.
Oh know your own heart, that heart's not wholly evil,
And from the particular judge the general,
If judge you must, but with compassion see life,
Or else, of yourself despairing, flee strife.

Brass Spittoons


Clean the spittoons, boy.
Atlantic City,
Palm Beach.
Clean the spittoons.
The steam in hotel kitchens,
And the smoke in hotel lobbies,
And the slime in hotel spittoons:
Part of my life.
Hey, boy!
A nickel,
A dime,
A dollar,
Two dollars a day.
Hey, boy!
A nickel,
A dime,
A dollar,
Two dollars
Buy shoes for the baby.
House rent to pay.
Gin on Saturday,
Church on Sunday.
My God!
Babies and gin and church
And women and Sunday
All mixed with dimes and
Dollars and clean spittoons
And house rent to pay.
Hey, boy!
A bright bowl of brass is beautiful to the Lord.
Bright polished brass like the cymbals
Of King David’s dancers,
Like the wine cups of Solomon.
Hey, boy!
A clean spittoon on the altar of the Lord.
A clean bright spittoon all newly polished—
At least I can offer that.
Com’mere, boy!
jazzy_dave: (Default)
Catullus "I hate And I Love" (Penguin Little Black Classics)

This is book 69 of 80, a set of small paperbacks costing 80 pence each to celebrate eighty years of Penguin books. The number is quite appropriate as these are a selection of erotic,despairing and rapturous poems of one man's all consuming infatuation and obsession with one woman, Lesbia.

It is astonishingly modern verse by one of ancient Rome's poets

As well as some particularly scorching' verses extolling the virtues of his lovers' bodies, there are some hilariously caustic criticisms and downright catty rebukes here.
He's obsessive and bitter in some but when in love -

'I'll come at once
for lolling on the sofa here
with jutting cock
and stuffed with food
I'm ripe for stuffing
my sweet Ipsithia'

When love is gone, it's all anger and vitriol...

'live with your three hundred lovers,
open your legs to them all (simultaneously)
lovelessly dragging the guts out of each of them
each time you do it,
blind to the love that I had for you
once, and that you, tart, wantonly crushed
as the passing plough-blade slashes the flower
at the field's edge'

Given the generally accepted unfaithfulness of the translation, I'll certainly be seeking out some more closely translated versions of Catullus' work to see exactly where he comes into his own, separate from the interventions of the translator, but this is still an incredibly enjoyable introduction.
Catullus is widely renowned for his satirical abilities and his sharp tongue, and both
are on display in this short collection.

jazzy_dave: (Jazzy D in da house)
Here is another piece from the Lawrence Ferlinghetti CD "A Coney Island Of The Mind".



jazzy_dave: (beckett thoughts)
Decided to add an extra poem for the week, and another American poet, E.E.Cummings.

[i carry your heart with me(i carry it in]

i carry your heart with me(i carry it in
my heart)i am never without it(anywhere
i go you go,my dear;and whatever is done
by only me is your doing,my darling)
i fear
no fate(for you are my fate,my sweet)i want
no world(for beautiful you are my world,my true)
and it’s you are whatever a moon has always meant
and whatever a sun will always sing is you

here is the deepest secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
and the sky of the sky of a tree called life;which grows
higher than soul can hope or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that's keeping the stars apart

i carry your heart(i carry it in my heart)
jazzy_dave: (beckett thoughts)
This week i have chosen a poem by a well known American author and poet.

Still I Rise

Maya Angelou

You may write me down in history
With your bitter, twisted lies,
You may tread me in the very dirt
But still, like dust, I'll rise.

Does my sassiness upset you?
Why are you beset with gloom?
'Cause I walk like I've got oil wells
Pumping in my living room.

Just like moons and like suns,
With the certainty of tides,
Just like hopes springing high,
Still I'll rise.

Did you want to see me broken?
Bowed head and lowered eyes?
Shoulders falling down like teardrops.
Weakened by my soulful cries.

Does my haughtiness offend you?
Don't you take it awful hard
'Cause I laugh like I've got gold mines
Diggin' in my own back yard.

You may shoot me with your words,
You may cut me with your eyes,
You may kill me with your hatefulness,
But still, like air, I'll rise.

Does my sexiness upset you?
Does it come as a surprise
That I dance like I've got diamonds
At the meeting of my thighs?

Out of the huts of history's shame
I rise
Up from a past that's rooted in pain
I rise
I'm a black ocean, leaping and wide,
Welling and swelling I bear in the tide.
Leaving behind nights of terror and fear
I rise
Into a daybreak that's wondrously clear
I rise
Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave,
I am the dream and the hope of the slave.
I rise
I rise
I rise.
jazzy_dave: (beckett thoughts)
I thought this poem might be appropriate for some reason

Invictus - Poem by William Ernest Henley

Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the Pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds, and shall find, me unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll.
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.

William Ernest Henley
jazzy_dave: (beckett thoughts)
The poem i have chosen this week is by the novelist, Thomas Hardy , who in my estimation was a wonderful poet.

The Spell Of The Rose by Thomas Hardy

'I mean to build a hall anon,
And shape two turrets there,
And a broad newelled stair,
And a cool well for crystal water;
Yes; I will build a hall anon,
Plant roses love shall feed upon,
And apple trees and pear.'

He set to build the manor-hall,
And shaped the turrets there,
And the broad newelled stair,
And the cool well for crystal water;
He built for me that manor-hall,
And planted many trees withal,
But no rose anywhere.
jazzy_dave: (Default)
Tim Burton "The Melancholy Death Of Oyster Boy" (Faber & Faber)

This is not the typical type of book I would pick up... i came across it one day some years back and passed it onto a friend, and now found it again in one of charity shop visits, and I have to say, it is amazing!

The poems are wicked and creepy and I enjoyed them just a little too much.

Its like once you are done reading, you just can't help but question Tim Burton's mental state (in a good way?) and possibly your own since you found the stories and illustrations insanely funny.

In fact, I really love Tim Burton's work. These poems and drawings are everything you would expect from Burton. Dark, funny, witty and cute. Short and deliciously wicked poems!
jazzy_dave: (beckett thoughts)
have not done one of these for yonks, so here is my poem of the week -

Joseph Brodsky - I Sit By The Window

poet Joseph Brodsky #222 on top 500 poets Poet's PagePoemsQuotesCommentsStatsE-BooksBiographyShare on FacebookShare on Twitter
Poems by Joseph Brodsky : 12 / 29 « prev. poem next poem »
I Sit By The Window

I said fate plays a game without a score,
and who needs fish if you've got caviar?
The triumph of the Gothic style would come to pass
and turn you on--no need for coke, or grass.
I sit by the window. Outside, an aspen.
When I loved, I loved deeply. It wasn't often.

I said the forest's only part of a tree.
Who needs the whole girl if you've got her knee?
Sick of the dust raised by the modern era,
the Russian eye would rest on an Estonian spire.
I sit by the window. The dishes are done.
I was happy here. But I won't be again.

I wrote: The bulb looks at the flower in fear,
and love, as an act, lacks a verb; the zer-
o Euclid thought the vanishing point became
wasn't math--it was the nothingness of Time.
I sit by the window. And while I sit
my youth comes back. Sometimes I'd smile. Or spit.

I said that the leaf may destory the bud;
what's fertile falls in fallow soil--a dud;
that on the flat field, the unshadowed plain
nature spills the seeds of trees in vain.
I sit by the window. Hands lock my knees.
My heavy shadow's my squat company.

My song was out of tune, my voice was cracked,
but at least no chorus can ever sing it back.
That talk like this reaps no reward bewilders
no one--no one's legs rest on my sholders.
I sit by the window in the dark. Like an express,
the waves behind the wavelike curtain crash.

A loyal subject of these second-rate years,
I proudly admit that my finest ideas
are second-rate, and may the future take them
as trophies of my struggle against suffocation.
I sit in the dark. And it would be hard to figure out
which is worse; the dark inside, or the darkness out.
jazzy_dave: (Jazzy D in da house)
Time for another Ivor, the Scottish poet and musician Ivor Cutler amd his poem Gruts For Tea.

Och aye, enjoy.
jazzy_dave: (beckett thoughts)
I haven't done one of these for awhile but here is a poem i have selected for he poem of the week , it is by Hugo Williams and is called Love Poem.

Love Poem
by Hugo Williams

I suppose you’re right and breaking up
would be quite a good thing,
but staying together
would be an equally good thing,
so whatever we decide to do
it will be all right. On balance,
I lean towards doing nothing,
but whatever happens we’ll go on
seeing each other, won’t we?

I suppose it wouldn’t be so bad,
seeing other people for a change,
we might even find someone
we could bear to be with
for more than half an hour,
although I doubt it somehow.
Experience suggests we go on
feeling the same about everything.
jazzy_dave: (beckett thoughts)
From the Carol Ann Duffy selection in "The World's Wife" here is my second favouirte poem Little Red-Cap.

Little Red-Cap

At childhood’s end, the houses petered out
into playing fields, the factory, allotments
kept, like mistresses, by kneeling married men,
the silent railway line, the hermit’s caravan,
till you came at last to the edge of the woods.
It was there that I first clapped eyes on the wolf.

He stood in a clearing, reading his verse out loud
in his wolfy drawl, a paperback in his hairy paw,
red wine staining his bearded jaw. What big ears
he had! What big eyes he had! What teeth!
In the interval, I made quite sure he spotted me,
sweet sixteen, never been, babe, waif, and bought me a drink,

my first. You might ask why. Here’s why. Poetry.
The wolf, I knew, would lead me deep into the woods,
away from home, to a dark tangled thorny place
lit by the eyes of owls. I crawled in his wake,
my stockings ripped to shreds, scraps of red from my blazer
snagged on twig and branch, murder clues. I lost both shoes

but got there, wolf’s lair, better beware. Lesson one that night,
breath of the wolf in my ear, was the love poem.
I clung till dawn to his thrashing fur, for
what little girl doesn’t dearly love a wolf?1
Then I slid from between his heavy matted paws
and went in search of a living bird – white dove –

which flew, straight, from my hands to his hope mouth.
One bite, dead. How nice, breakfast in bed, he said,
licking his chops. As soon as he slept, I crept to the back
of the lair, where a whole wall was crimson, gold, aglow with books.
Words, words were truly alive on the tongue, in the head,
warm, beating, frantic, winged; music and blood.

But then I was young – and it took ten years
in the woods to tell that a mushroom
stoppers the mouth of a buried corpse, that birds
are the uttered thought of trees, that a greying wolf
howls the same old song at the moon, year in, year out,
season after season, same rhyme, same reason. I took an axe

to a willow to see how it wept. I took an axe to a salmon
to see how it leapt. I took an axe to the wolf
as he slept, one chop, scrotum to throat, and saw
the glistening, virgin white of my grandmother’s bones.
I filled his old belly with stones. I stitched him up.
Out of the forest I come with my flowers, singing, all alone.

Carol Ann Duffy 1999
jazzy_dave: (Default)
Carol Ann Duffy "The World's Wife" (Picador)

It’s a collection of poems all on the same theme of overturning male-centred history, literature and myth, and looking at familiar stories from the neglected wife’s perspective. So, for example, we have Mrs Aesop tiring of her husband’s constant boring fables, and Delilah explaining why she cut off Samson’s hair (he’d complained to her that he didn't know what it was to be gentle, and so she’d done it to help him change, to take away the pressure of always having to be strong). There are also more modern characters, like Frau Freud, the Kray sisters, and Elvis’s twin sister.

There’s a playful, humorous tone to the poems, and I enjoyed reading them on a quiet afternoon recently in a sun-drenched beer garden. A lot of them had the same basic premise, of a wife wryly mocking her husband’s posturing and self-aggrandisement, and this got a bit repetitive after a while. My favourite poems were those that truly brought a new twist to a familiar story, imputing new and more interesting motives to the characters, as in the Delilah example already mentioned, or my favourite of all, Queen Herod. In this poem, we learn that it wasn't the King who ordered the killing of all first-born male children after all, but the Queen, who does it to protect her own newborn daughter: “No man, I swore, will make her shed one tear.” I found it a powerful and poignant reworking, and loved the last few lines:

We do our best,
we Queens, we mothers,
mothers of Queens.

We wade through blood
for our sleeping girls.
We have daggers for eyes.

Behind our lullabies,
the hooves of terrible horses
thunder and drum.
jazzy_dave: (beckett thoughts)
Here is a poem that i read after studying a module on poetry with the O.U. many years ago, and it is by Leeds based poet Tony Harrison and is called Long Distance II.

Long Distance II
Tony Harrison

Though my mother was already two years dead
Dad kept her slippers warming by the gas,
put hot water bottles her side of the bed
and still went to renew her transport pass.

You couldn't just drop in. You had to phone.
He'd put you off an hour to give him time
to clear away her things and look alone
as though his still raw love were such a crime.

He couldn't risk my blight of disbelief
though sure that very soon he'd hear her key
scrape in the rusted lock and end his grief.
He knew she'd just popped out to get the tea.

I believe life ends with death, and that is all.
You haven't both gone shopping; just the same,
in my new black leather phone book there's your name
and the disconnected number I still call.

I am currently reading this book found in a charity shop in Deal for 50 pence.

jazzy_dave: (Jazzy D in da house)
Ex-Pulp man Jarvis Cocker has been raving about the Betjeman album Banana Blush along with Suggs from Madness and Jim Parker on BBC Radio Four a few minutes ago.  Think i will have to buy that CD reissue of it soon.

So  here is another track from it, The Flight From Bootle.

The music an poetry works so well together.
jazzy_dave: (beckett thoughts)
I found a poetry book in a charity shop in Deal on Thursday, not the one i mystery shopped, and just checked the price on Amazon. I bought this for 50 pence. Checked said book on Amazon and the paperback is being sold at £30.

The book?
Tony Harrison - The Loiners (London Magazine Editions 1974)


I do seem to pick them.

Tony Harrison was one of the poets i studied many years ago on an O.U. Arts Foundation Course. 


Aug. 1st, 2014 08:45 am
jazzy_dave: (beckett thoughts)
I have been enjoying the small poetry book by Roger McGough , and with humorous short poems , made me smile and grin whilst on my travels the other day.

Here is one of the shortest ones.


Granny plays whist
Better when pwhist.


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