words

Mary Oliver – morning poetry writing

Listen to this wonderfully calm and thoughtful interview with the Pulitzer prize-winning poet, Mary Oliver (NPR recording 2013).

In under 7 minutes, she conveys the fresh tang of her words, by reading her poem “I happen to be standing”, written during her usual early morning attentiveness to nature and poetry writing time of choice.  Then goes on to give some thoughts on the practice of writing poetry and her concern with the natural world:

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W B Yeats, W H Auden, memorial, poetry

Poetry lives on

W H Auden reads his poem about the death of W B Yeats (anniversary today) – not only the passing of the man, but the way poetry lives on in the world after the death of its writer.

Interesting to bear in mind that we are listening to the spoken words of a poet who has been dead for over 40 years (died September 1973). Powerful to hear them read by the writer.

This poem is in fact one of 3 parts.  In the 2nd, he memorably sums up W B Yeats as “Mad Ireland hurt you into poetry” and in the 3rd it winds up the set by a simple four line verse:

“In the deserts of the heart

Let the healing fountain start

In the prison of his days

Teach the free man how to praise.”

The full poem is found in Auden’s writings 1939-1947.

“I think Modern art lacks affection”

What an astounding observation by Ian Hamilton Finlay: “I think modern art lacks affection”.

It was made during lunch with an artist with whom he maintained an exchange of letters and pictures – Graham Rich.  I know this from the 34 minute video talk in which Graham talks about the shared love of boats with Ian Hamilton Finlay – and their little jokes in the correspondence.

This is one of those rare things: charming.  The younger artist obviously had respect for (more…)

Shortest poem?

I just came across this intriguing video answer to that question.

First of all, I need to say that the presenter is slightly too inTENse in the WAy he spEaks. But don’t let this put you off, the content is interesting, cooky and sometimes plan daft, with many examples.  Persist in viewing if you’re interested in words and wordplay. Or find yourself looking at a postcard and wondering how you can possibly write anything interesting in such a brief space.