Doing this challenge has made me think a lot about poetry I have read (and poetry I haven’t yet read). Suddenly I am remembering lots of poetry I had completely forgotten about.
It turns out that poetry has played a far bigger part in my life than I realised.
- poems my mum read to us when we were very young (‘When we were very young’; ‘Now we are six’; poems from the Penguin Book of Comic and Curious Verse – I particularly remember The Pobble Who Had No Toes, and The Walrus and the Carpenter ( Edward Lear and Lewis Carroll)
- poems I loved to read as a child – Robert Louis Stevenson’s ‘A Child’s Garden of Verses’; the several volumes my parents had of Comic and Curious Verse
poems I read at school – Thomas Hardy, TS Elliot, William Blake, the first world war poets; French and Spanish poems – Lorca, Jacques Prevert
- poems I read to our children – the ones my mum read to me and my sister; the wonderful Janet and Allan Ahlberg books (Each Peach Pear Plum anyone?); the animal poems in a gorgeous collection illustrated by Eric Carle (Mother Doesn’t Want a Dog by Judith Viorst stands out, as does part of the camel section of Parade Song of the Camp Animals by Rudyard Kipling, quoted to me recently by oldest son in a rather surprising and seemingly random text); Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats (TS Elliot, of course)
- poems I inherited from my dad (who died when I was 11)
- poems I read for and to myself – Robert Frost, Adrienne Rich, Linton Kwesi Johnson, the French and Spanish poems (Lorca, Prevert, Neruda), Yevgeny Yevtushenko (in translation!)
- poems I’ve heard performed by their writers – Linton Kwesi Johnson, John Cooper Clarke
- poems I’ve heard on the radio – all of the above, the ever-varied Poetry Please (Radio 4, of course), Lemn Sissay
- poems from the King James bible
- poems by Shakespeare
- poems on our bookshelves – far far more, it turns out, than I realised. Everywhere I look. Mainly Penguin paperbacks, bought second hand over the years, with beautifully designed covers (many of them by Stephen Russ – who according to this post taught at the renowned Bath School of Art and Design – he needs a post all of his own).