|Poetry Roundup: April 2011
Mad Scientess Jane Expat
Today is the last day of the American National Poetry Month. (As an American expat living in Britain, I claim the right to celebrate either in April or October.) I tried to cover a range of time periods and as much of the world as I could with my nine poetry posts (though my knowledge of African poets is sadly deficient), which forced me to abandon the male-female-male-female scheme I had originally intended. My commentary is mostly personal, as I am no literary expert and these are simply the favourites I’ve gleaned from dilettante study over my lifetime. I hope at least a few people found this series entertaining.
- The Golden Palominos “Ride” with lyrics by Nicole Blackman (female, American)
- Philip Larkin “Next, Please” (male, English)
- Wisława Szymborska “Theatre Impressions” (female, Polish)
- Li Po “Along the Stream” (male, Chinese)
- Sandra Cisneros “I the Woman” (female, Mexican-American)
- William Blake “The Sick Rose” (male, English)
- Tachibana Hokushi “untitled haiku” (male, Japanese)
- Alexander Pushkin “Eugene Onegin” excerpt (male, Russian)
- Pablo Neruda “Oda al Gato/Ode to the Cat” excerpt (male, Chilean)
I have found it kind of interesting, but only because you put your response to the poems there too. I've never been able to get into poems - I find them generally uninspiring or annoying (I'd rather read prose and get a proper description) - but it was interesting to see why you'd picked them and why you liked them.
We were forced to learn Burns poems at primary school and recite them in front of the class every year. I hated it. I could never memorise them. I'm very bad at memorising text/speech.
I find that reading poems aloud infuses them with more interest. The same goes for plays, although I'd rather go to see a play than read it.
I always think that recitation, especially from memory, requires a certain level of natural ability to be enjoyable. Otherwise it's just painful.