Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Monday, August 22, 2011

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Poetry School Downloads

Busy week, my son's first week at school which thankfully went went swimmingly well.

I've been feeling for a while that I really need an intensive boost to my writing to get past my current plateau. I'd love to go on an Arvon course or something similar and be tutored by great poets, but that's just not going to happen. There are plenty of online courses and poets willing to provide individual critical attention but finances won't allow for that either.
Which is why I'm rather excited about coming across a webpage on The Poetry School website which lists plenty of purchasable downloads of varying poetry advice from many interesting and admirable poets at £3 apiece! I'm most interested in "Chance and Random" by Penelope Shuttle, I've been reading up everything I could on Peter Redgrove recently, and "Stealing Stanzas" by Alison Brackenbury.
You can find the list of downloads here.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Poetry Workshop

Just noticed on BBC iPlayer a new series of poetry workshops by Ruth Padel on Radio 4. The first one is on landscape poems and starts with a reading of one of Alice Oswald's poems. You can find it here.

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Sunday, August 07, 2011

Roethke and Kunitz

This week I've been reading what I can of Theodore Roethke and Stanley Kunitz online. I don't own any of either poets' poetry collections and this is where I really miss access to a uni library. However there's no shortage of stuff on both poets online. I've glanced at Roethke's poems before but not really read them properly. Reading the poems of his that are available online I can't help but see the influence of his work on Plath's poems.
It's a well known fact that Plath was greatly influenced by Roethke, especially his 'Greenhouse Poems' on which she based her sequence 'Poem for a Birthday', a pivotal turning point poem in her writing. I'm enjoying them and particularly interested in how he explores his personal themes, in part, through a kind of surreal personification of nature, something I've always enjoyed in Plath's writing. You can see this in Roethke's poem The Geranium and Plath's poem Poppies in July.

I was intrigued by this review of Stanley Kunitz's book The Wild Braid  which mentions the influence of nature and Jungian symbolism in his writing. I love this quote from the book:
'The poem has to be saturated with impulse and that means getting down to the very tissue of experience. How can this element be absent from poetry without thinning out the poem? That is certainly one of the problems when making a poem is thought to be a rational production. The dominance of reason, as in eighteenth-century poetry, diminished the power of poetry. Reason certainly has its place, but it cannot be dominant. Feeling is far more important in the making of the poem. And the language itself has to be a sensuous instrument; it cannot be a completely rational one. In rhythm and sound, for example, language has the capacity to transcend reason; it’s all like erotic play.'
Another book to add to the list of desirables!

Saturday, August 06, 2011

Thursday, August 04, 2011

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

First draft

Love: when boats of papyrus

(poem removed)

Monday, August 01, 2011

McCready and Downie in Conversation

Fellow Calder Wood Press poet Morgan Downie (swiss) and I review and interview each other on our respective poetry collections. I've been reading Morgan's poetry and conversing with him via the blogs for a couple of years now and I enjoyed this wee joint venture. Morgan's first full-length poetry collection, stone and sea, was published last year and is packed with excellent poems. I was pleased to get this opportunity to ask him some questions on his collection and his answers are interesting and very Morgan!

Thanks to Michelle McGrane for featuring us on her wonderful Peony Moon blog!
"Every translation leaves the poet behind a glass window"

My current obsession with Durs Grünbein has led me to this wonderful short youtube video which features Michael Hofmann reading one of his translations of Grünbein's poems, Grünbein reading an english translation of one of his poems and following it with the German reading, and a lovely mini-interview with Grunbein at the end.