Category Archives: Poetry

On Peter Porter

The name Peter Porter is not spoken with the reverent frequency it should be in his home country.  Even his Wikipedia entry is sternly brusque and rather more concerned with the bibliography than the man.

But my goodness he can write poetry.  If you’ve never read ‘An Angel in Blythburgh Church’ it’s possible that you don’t know what I’m talking about.  You should.  By which I mean you should read it, and then you’ll know what I’m talking about.

Easy.

In the interim, check out this little peach: ‘Sex and the Over Forties’ Continue reading

On Robert ‘Raunchy Rob’ Herrick

There has never been much in the assumption that poets are dreamy creatures, divorced from reality and the vulgar world of fleshly concerns.  And the idea that the older the poetry the more decorous and subtle it will be about matters of the – shall we say – heart is dispelled immediately by a quick scanning of this little gem from Robert Herrick (1591 – 1674) called ‘Upon Julia’s Breasts’: Continue reading

Accidental Art

Some months ago I was posting a link online, and encountered one of those charming security checks which demands that you type out two words in order to prove that you’re a human being capable of transcribing nonsense rather than a computer program that isn’t.

Imagine my shock and excitement, therefore, when I was asked to type out ‘exhibitions wanton’.

This, I thought to myself, was no mere security check.  This was poetry. Continue reading

Witter on Winter

Witter Bynner (1881-1968) is entirely new to me.  Saddled with a rather unfortunate name, this son of New York and Massachusetts pursued a career in journalism, was booted out of his position of Professor of Oral English the University of California after he served booze to his students during the prohibition and finally settled in Santa Fe to get down to some serious writing.

Welcome to ‘The Wintry Mind’: Continue reading

Sympathy For The Devil

Of all fictitious characters, Lucifer is my absolute favourite.  He’s not as prominent in those two particularly well known fictions, the Old and the New Testaments, as I feel he ought to be, but Milton supplied the deficiency in Paradise Lost, and since then it’s been hard to keep the guy down.

I think my favourite representation of Satan on celluloid is brought to us by Al Pacino:

Continue reading

Savage in Love

Past posts on poetry have been naked cheating on my part.  In all cases, they have been poems I know well, and have known for years.  Now, I have a slightly new system, and challenge for myself.  From time to time, I’m going to open an anthology of poetry at random, find a poem I haven’t read before (and which is short enough to quote in its entirety) and write on it.

The first contender is by Walter Savage Landor, and takes its name from the first line: Continue reading

Auden’s Fine Art (And Scrotum)

When the painter David Hockney first clapped eyes on an aging W H Auden, he is reputed to have exclaimed ‘If that’s his face, what must his scrotum look like?’ Continue reading