Sunday, 27 May 2012

Poetry On A Shoestring

I've been thinking about poetry recently.  A friend has been helping her 14 year old son to revise for his English Literature exam, and commented on how difficult it had been, "14 year old boys don't really 'do' poetry."  I have to confess that in middle-age I don't really 'do' poetry much either, although as a 14 year old, we 'did' poetry a lot at my rather traditional school, and I enjoyed it.  The Dragon Book of Verse was our staple poetry diet, and when I look at the contents, which included sections on Creatures, Landscapes and Seascapes, I wonder if it shaped my ecological consciousness? 



These days, poems stumble across me, rather than me seeking them out.  Such as Piute Creek, by Gary Snyder.  When we listened to the radio programme on Thoreau, Husband and I were both mesmerised by this poem.  It lingered in the mind long after hearing it.  I didn't know much about this popular American poet,  but from what I've since been able to glean, he's my kind of poet and I want to learn more about him and his poems.  (If you have a favourite Snyder poem, or book of poems, I'd be glad for any recommendations in the comments!)

The Paris Review, Winter 1996, ran an interview with Snyder, and summarised him thus: 
"He is America's primary poet-celebrant of the wilderness, poet-exponent of environmentalism and Zen Buddhism, and poet-citizen of the Pacific Rim—the first American poet to gaze almost exclusively west toward the East, rather than east toward Western civilization."
The original idea for this post was to reproduce Piute Creek, on its own, plain and simple.  But it seems that the issue of copyright and reproducing poems, is as fraught as that of music sharing.  So instead, I direct you to a fantastic resource for people who would like more poetry in their lives, The Poetry Foundation.  There you can read Piute Creek for yourselves. And if you would like to learn more about Snyder there is an audio podcast about his life and work, which includes him reading poems from Mountains and Rivers Without End.

This Sunday, enjoy the simple pleasure of a poem (even if you're like my friend's son!)

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In case any poets out there are getting anxious, Everyday Life On A Shoestring does not advocate accessing poetry solely online; if you want to support your poets then make sure to borrow poetry books from the library, look out for poetry books in charity shops, buy poetry anthologies and download poetry onto your Kindle!


3 comments:

  1. Clicked on subscribe Sarah, but it's not doing much apart from giving me a HTML file (I think...)

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  2. Ooh dear thanks for letting me know Jo...I'll have to see what I can do at this end...I'll let you know how I get on!

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  3. I think it may have been a result of me doing half a job when I tried to sort out my glitches last week...I've twiddled a bit more and I think it might work. Can you try again and let me know if it works or not? Of course I subscribe to myself and I get emails and read it in google reader OK, but it's good to know how it's working in the real world!

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