In honour of National Poetry Day today, some links to (and musings upon) a few of my favourite poems:
‘The Love Song of J Alfred Prufrock’ by T S Eliot is probably one of my very favouritest poems ever. I love Eliot’s poetry (though when it comes to ‘The Waste Land’ I kind of prefer Wendy Cope’s summary of it).
‘The Book Of Longing’ by Leonard Cohen is the first poem in his collection of the same name, which I’ve been reading ever since seeing him in concert recently. I love his lyrics and with the poetry you can almost hear his gravelly voice murmuring the words into your ear…
‘Not My Best Side’ by U A Fanthorpe is one of her best-known poems (I also adore ‘Growing Up’, which I was first introduced to in school, which has a lovely Emily Bronte reference).
‘Valentine’ by Carol Ann Duffy – because you have to have a Carol Ann Duffy poem in there. I love the precision of her work – it’s not overly-complicated or obscure but it’s precise and carefully arranged stuff.
‘What Teachers Make’ by Taylor Mali is one I love because it’s about, y’know, teaching and learning and all that other good stuff. I recently read his collection, The Last Time As We Are, and adored it.
‘Marginalia’ by Billy Collins is gorgeous (and you have to love someone who titles a collection Taking Off Emily Dickinson’s Clothes).
Other collections I’ve loved recently include Kerrie O’Brien’s Out of the Blueness and Sarah Maria Griffin’s Follies – debuts from two young(ish) Irish poets who write gorgeously. I will always have a soft spot for Emily Dickinson and Sylvia Plath, two poets I had to study for the Leaving Cert and managed to not-hate even after all that. I love Ellen Hopkins’s novels in verse, and Michael Rosen’s Sad Book is just perfect. I am not good with poetry, as such – there are people who think in poems, in beautiful fragments that can be shaped into something haunting and surprising – but I do rather like it, a lot. A lot a lot.