This being my last contribution as the Archive's first resident poet, rather than attempt to get a debate going I thought I'd just say a few words about one particular thread which runs through my own writing, an example of which ( 'Variations on an Old Rhyme' ) can be heard and seen on this site. It takes as its form 'The House that Jack Built' which has always been a favourite of mine. Several poets have improvised upon it, perhaps most notably Elizabeth Bishop in her 'Visits to St. Elizabeth's'. St. Elizabeth's was the hospital in Washington to which the poet Ezra Pound was admitted at the end of WW2 to avoid his being convicted for treason after he made broadcasts on Rome Radio defending fascism to American troops.0 comments Taking it to Heart By John Mole
Is it good to be made to learn poetry by heart? There seem to me to be at least two ways of looking at this. It could be argued that if you are made to do it then it's unlikely to be the heart which is doing the learning. On the other hand what, initially, was an exercise in learning 'by rote' could be, as it were, taken to heart and become a companion for life.2 comments latest by john mole Voices Being Various By John Mole
One of the things I'm most enjoying about exploring the Poetry Archive is hearing all the different voices, how poems are 'pitched', the various regional accents and idioms, and in some cases ( as with Roger McGough's 'Funicular Railway' for example ) how an audience responds to a poet's sense of timing in performance. There's a fascinating historical perspective too. Listening to Yeats intone 'The Lake Isle of Innisfree', to Tennyson's strong hint of a Lincolnshire accent, and even to Browning starting to gallop from memory through 'How They brought the Good News from Ghent to Aix' and then forgetting the words, is a wonderful way of bringing the past to life through poetry.0 comments How do we know that this is a poem? By John Mole
There's a splendidly forthright character in Jan Mark's novel 'Zeno Was Here'. His name is Dermot Crane, a schoolboy and his class's 'lateral thinker'. 'How do we know this is a letter, Dermot?' asks his English teacher who is encouraging the pupils to differentiate between types of writing. 'Sir, it's got an address and a date and it says Dear John. . .' When it comes to poetry, as we shall see, Dermot is equally confident and direct.6 comments latest by Stu What a load of nonsense! By John Mole
I have always loved or, to put it another way, had a weakness for nonsense verse. I rather agree with Dr. Seuss who once said that the reason he enjoyed writing nonsense so much was that it woke up his brain cells.7 comments latest by john mole Red Boots and an exclamation mark! By John Mole
Here is a pair of poems by two of my favourite poets, Kit Wright and Charles Causley. Both have that combination of rhythm, rhyme and vivid description which makes me want to read them out loud, to hear and to feel how they go, so it's particularly interesting for me to experience the way that the poets read them themselves.17 comments latest by john mole
This part of the Archive is full of poems chosen specially for children. Click here to meet old favourites and make new discoveries.