Wednesday, August 06, 2014

Book love

Some of my favourite poetry books are the big fat volumes of Collected or Selected poems - how wonderful to have all those poems by a single poet contained within one book. When I won £300 in a poetry competition in my early twenties I was so excited to have some money to spend on some of those huge expensive volumes. Back then I bought the Collected Emily Dickinson and the wonderful Complete Akhmatova along with some other books well outside my usual budget then including a large volume of modern Russian poetry.

My favourite recent collected or selected books have been Roethke, Selima Hill and Sujata Bhatt. Usually one of these volumes can be found in my handbag where ever I go (though Hill's selected is  rather large for my bag!). Pascale Petit's new collection, Fauverie, is due out soon but I really can't wait for a collected Petit to come out which surely must be on the cards.

Tuesday, August 05, 2014

random photo - eagle carving at Arrochar!
I've been reading Theodore Roethke over the summer and though I'd read some of his poems before it's only now that they've really gripped me. The use of imagery from the natural world to intensely explore the psychological inner world, the adoption of folk beat and childish rhymes and language in order to break through to the deeper recesses of the mind I've found to be utterly fascinating and in line with what I'd been trying to work towards without really knowing that's what I've been trying to do!

It's the last week of the summer holidays and it has been a full-on summer of trying to keep the kids busy and entertained which has meant little time for writing though I've been working on a few poems and managed to read quite a bit. This year Ruby goes to school and everything changes for me - for the first time in seven-and-a-half years (since my eldest was born)  I'll no longer spend the majority of the day with a young child at my heels. A bittersweet feeling, didn't realise how much my subconscious was dwelling on it until it came out unexpectantly in a recent poem.
Much has changed in the last seven years, back then I thought when the kids went to school I would go back to studying and do a phd in political philosophy, but now all I really want to do is read and write poems! I will have to get a job though and had in the past had been involved in one-to-one tutoring in adult literacy which I really enjoyed and I'm looking to get back into again - I've spoken to the local community adult learning centre about doing some sort of creative writing class and they're very keen on the idea. But initially I guess I'm going to have a lot more time on my hands!

I was delighted with this brilliant review of Tree Language from Kirsten Irving which you can read on the Sidekick Books website here.

I went through to Edinburgh last week to record a podcast at the Scottish Poetry Library with Colin Waters, really enjoyed it - very much like a conversation rather than an intense interview, and Colin asked some really interesting / thoughtful / challenging questions - I only hope I didn't waffle too much in my responses! Wonderful to be in a library of entirely poetry-related books, so difficult choosing just six to borrow! Plus they have a good number of poetry mags and journals and I'm such a fan of Sujata Bhatt now that despite reading and re-reading her decent-sized volume of collected poems over the last four months I was so delighted to come across four new poems by her in the latest PN Review!

So the books I got out the library are -

  • Theodore Roethke: The Journey from I to Otherwise - Neil Bowers
  • The Terrible Threshold - Stanley Kunitz
  • Translations from the Natural World - Les Murray
  • Collected Poems - Lynette Roberts
  • Selected Poems - Laura Riding
  • Abyssophone - Peter Redgrove