I still haven't read much poetry, but poetry
surrounds us every day; most of it is bad of course (one
immediately thinks of The Outthere Brothers "put your booty
on my face..." or whatever it is) but some of it is sublime.
I guess I'll have to expand this list into a list of my
favourite musicians. Not today...
I recommend the anthology "Immortal Poems of the English
Language", edited by Oscar Williams, published by Washington
Square Press. At $7.99 plus tax (Canadian) I have rarely
made a better buy.
Before we get started on the real poets, here's an
Ode to Grapefruit .
Here are some words I wrote in (I think) about 1998:
A collection I have recently acquired is Vic Elias' book
Reflected Scenery from Where My Eyes Should Be. I'm going
to suggest that Vic put ordering information on his home page;
his work is very good (but not for the faint of heart).
It is with deep regret that I record here the death of Vic Elias (2006).
In his last two years, since his diagnosis with cancer, he published
ten refereed journal publications (plus two submitted just before he died),
and completed two more books of poetry. His fourth and final book
"The Cataracts of Troy" came out Fall 2006; powerful, sad, wise.
As I write this, an early version of "Dirait-On" is pinned to my wall,
covering a copy of "A Game of Jeopardy", the title poem from his
second book: it's amazing.
We'll miss him.
Here's a random list of other poets I have read.
- Bill Shaxpur (aka William Shakespeare). What can I say?
``Let not the marriage of true minds admit impediments''---we
used that at our wedding. My brother Chris read it to everyone,
and a fine job he did, too.
- William Blake---not least for his inspiration of Philip
José Farmer's World of Tiers series.
- Dante Aligheri. Am just starting the Paradisio now---D. L. Sayers'
translation, love her notes---Inferno was grim but very interesting
while the Purgatorio was wonderful.
- John Donne. My current favourite is "Love's Growth".
You know you are in the hands of a master when he uses the
fact that taxes are rarely decreased to demonstrate love---and
it works! But there is so much to choose from...
- Roger Waters. Of course you know him---he was the soul
of Pink Floyd, back when it had one.
- Shel Silverstein. "Freaker's Ball", "Cover of the
Rolling Stone" (at least I think he wrote that one), many
others. His poems for children are also lovely, though they
contain a reprehensible strain of anti-intellectualism all
too prevalent in our culture.
- Andrew Marvell. "To His Coy Mistress" we read in first
year English (Grosvenor Powell taught me, I remember---21 years
ago now (please insert an arbitrarily large number of exclamation
marks here). I believe the usual phrase is `pearls before swine').
- W. B. Yeats for "the Second Coming"---I read this only
after having read much derivative work (or at least affected
work, such as Roger Zelazny's Amber series of fantasy novels).
- Alexander Pope. "I am his Highness' dog at Kew; pray
tell me, sir, whose dog are you?"
- Whichever of the Rankin Family it was that wrote
``Mull River Shuffle''. Clearly minor league compared to the others
on this list, but still one of my favourites.
- Thomas Moore. I suppose I had better stop putting things
down at random on this list; but "Believe me, if all those endearing
young charms" is a lovely work.