Learning by heart

Learning by heart

Listening time: 10 minutes. It’s been playing on my mind, the fact that recently I haven’t learned any new poems by heart.  This led me to revisit a short essay I wrote a while back, which I’m glad to share in this podcast.  The written text, along...
A private anthology

A private anthology

Although this is a public domain website, it is also a ‘private anthology’, and wonderful will be the day when I have committed to memory more than a handful of its treasures.  These notes and quotes concerning learning things by heart are the ground...
Like a house that stays standing

Like a house that stays standing

Recently, I’ve been turning over in my mind poems learned by heart, and searching the memory banks of some once committed to memory and now only half recalled. Time to get back into a rhythm of learning by heart, including many new poems and the trickier...
Made up and yet true

Made up and yet true

A piercing rationale for the arts, if a rationale is needed.  They are made up, but …The paradox of the arts is that they are all made up and yet they allow us to get at truths about who and what we are or might be.  Source: Seamus Heaney, Finders Keepers:...
Like the last of his life

Like the last of his life

Harold Bloom’s comment on Hart Crane (1899-1932) is all the more poignant knowing that Crane considered some of his major work to have been a failure, suffered recurring bouts of alcoholism, and appears to have committed suicide when he jumped overboard a ship...
Poetry as gleaning

Poetry as gleaning

A telling comment by Christopher Isherwood on W.H. Auden’s approach to revising his poems. It makes one wonder how many scholars have wasted hours peering deeply into some poem of ‘celebrated obscurity’ which was never more than an accretion of lines...
To be forever on the road

To be forever on the road

A marvelous metaphor to describe poetry and its relationship to speaking; I like this notion of realising that speaking is being on the road, and of a word turning out to be longer than we thought.What distinguishes poetry from automatic speech is that it rouses us...
Language in orbit

Language in orbit

A poet can provide the initial lift-off, but then the poem enters its own orbit and runs on its own fuel; perhaps the same can be said of any well-crafted powerful writing.  No doubt NASA would approve the metaphor.  Poetry is language in orbit.  It may start with...
The original fake news

The original fake news

‘Fake news’ is nothing but a new term for the age old curses of rumour or propaganda, so it’s good to be reminded that these were always with us. And let’s remember to keep adding a pinch of salt to the spice bowls of rumour.  Rumour who loves...

Pin It on Pinterest