Friday 11 April 2008

The stuff of poetry

Got Sharon Olds' book The Father; Poems (1999, Alfred A. Knopf, New York) from the library, read it in one go, some of it made me cry.

Here are some of my recently acquired insights into poetry:

- poetry is not only about daffodils.
- poetry does not have to be obscure.
- some of the best poetry packs a wallop.

Poetry about 'wonderfully observed moments' on its own is good, but not enough. The significant poets have something more to say, like Sharon Olds showing how love takes over as a force greater than her rational, everyday self, in caring for her dying father, despite the fear he inspired in her when she was a child.

This is the second book I've read which is on a given theme: the other is Anne Kennedy's Sing-song, which I'll finish today. The narrative link between the poems creates a greater sense of intimacy with the writer. I go back and re-read...

Writing: I'm working on the Soundwalk set of poems - there may be three, I think. Much encouraged by the groups' approval yesterday.

Viv said that one can buy poetry books cheaply on-line via TradeMe; shall check that, and BookHaven which is Wellington-based and easy to access.

I am out of my routine, it is three in the afternoon, not early morning. Too tired to get up early today. No writing tomorrow, Saturday, but shall be back at it on Sunday morning, after Zen.

Oh, and a friend sent me an article by Helen Ventner about the way Yeats wrote poetry. Started with prose and then polished and polished, reading it out aloud as he went, with a particular intonation. Comparison of poetry to music, the text up-front and other stuff happening underneath.

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