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Posts Tagged ‘Poetry’

Saturday Poem: Biography by Ian Hamilton

In Uncategorized on November 9, 2013 at 8:29 pm

Who turned the page? When I went out
Last night, his Life was left wide-open,
Half-way through, in lamplight on my desk:
The Middle years.
Now look at him. Who turned the page?

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Saturday Poem: Poem by Simon Armitage

In Poetry on February 13, 2010 at 2:02 pm

And if it snowed and snow covered the drive
he took a spade and tossed it to one side.
And always tucked his daughter up at night.
And slippered her the one time that she lied.

And every week he tipped up half his wage.
And what he didn’t spend each week he saved.
And praised his wife for every meal she made.
And once, for laughing, punched her in the face.

And for his mum he hired a private nurse.
And every Sunday taxied her to church.
And he blubbed when she went form bad to worse.
And twice he lifted ten quid from her purse.

Here’s how they rated him when they looked back:
sometime he did this, sometime he did that.

(from Kid, faber and faber 1992)

Stepping Stones: Interviews with Seamus Heaney

In Poetry on July 18, 2009 at 5:55 pm

As of last week, I am a proud owner of a wonderful, thick, hard-bound copy of “Stepping Stones: Interviews with Seamus Heaney” by Dennis O’Driscoll (published by Faber and Faber).  As the subtitle says, the book is a collection of interviews conducted by O’Driscoll, himself an Irish poet, essayist and critic, over a period of 6 years (2001-2007), mostly done “in writing and by post.

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Tracing out the long arc of his progression, the book is divided into two main sections: Bearings – which deals with his early childhood in Mossbawn and his early forays into poetry – and “On the Books” – which, using each of his published volumes as a framework, discuss the circumstances and influences that went into their composition. Along the way is abundant anecdotal information about Heaney’s personal and public life, his friendships, influences, challenges, all interspersed with pictures.

In the words of O’Driscoll, “[..] But Seamus Heaney- as anyone who has heard him Read the rest of this entry »

Saturday Poem: Digging by Seamus Heaney

In Poetry on June 28, 2009 at 4:04 am

I love and admire the poetry of Seamus Heaney. What more need I say? Over the years his poems have nourished the heart, lifted and steadied the spirit unlike any other poet in the English language. I can vividly recall the spring of 2004 when I first bought a copy of “Poems: 1965-1975”, and how deeply enchanted I was from the very first page. The ensuing summer was a heady time – Heaney summer, as I think of it, when I devoured almost all his work, poems and prose, I could lay hands on. There will be plenty to say later on.

To be sure, his work is rooted in the “local” – the landscape and memories of his native Ireland (which itself is fascinating to someone who grew up in the dry, dusty plains of India), and yet it is open to everyone. “Digging” is a perfect example of this: anyone familiar with the rythms of rural life – the work on and of the land – will feel its tug and pull, and so also, as the poem closes, all who have thought about what it means to follow in the footsteps of one’s forbears.

What a blessing to be alive at a time when this immortal giant of letters is still writing and publishing!

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Saturday Poem: Two poems by Hans Magnus Enzensberger

In Poetry on June 6, 2009 at 1:26 am

The Visit


When I looked up from my blank page
there was an angel in the room.

A rather commonplace angel,
presumably of lower rank.

You cannot imagine, he said,
the degree to which you’re dispensable.

Of the fifteen thousand hues of blue,
he said, each one makes more of a difference

Than anything you may do
or refrain from doing,

Not to mention the feldspar
or the Great Magellanic Cloud.

Even the most comm. Plantain, unassuming
as it is, would leave a gap. Not you.

I could tell from his bright eyes –
he hoped for an argument, for a long fight.

I did not move. I waited in silence
until he had gone away.

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