Great poetry for free!
Great poetry for free!
George Orwell’s poetry was recently published as a collection. Apparently this is for the first time. Given how famous he is, I wondered why. Surely after his death any unpublished work would have been extra-valuable.
The BBC interview goes some way towards explaining this. According to Dione Venables, the collection’s editor, he wasn’t a great poet and the value of much of his verse lies in what it says about him as a person, not his politics nor poetry in general.
He was a persistent poet. Like many, he discovered the joy of writing verse when very young, but unlike many, he never gave it up, which means that this collection covers a lifetime’s output.
A good deal of his poetry has been available for some time. He published a few in magazines himself, and various websites have selections. The Orwell Prize site has links to several and also to scanned original pages of others – his handwriting was reasonably legible, but they are still difficult to read.
A lot of the poetry is light and easy reading:
A happy vicar I might have been
Two hundred years ago
To preach upon eternal doom
And watch my walnuts grow;
But born, alas, in an evil time,
I missed that pleasant haven,
For the hair has grown on my upper lip
And the clergy are all clean-shaven.
Cover picture from Scarthin Books.
Another Carpe Diem challenge and this time one open to an even wider range of responses than usual. To check out some of the ways others have interpreted the prompt go to the website and follow the links – an exploration well worth taking.
The prompt comes from a haiku by Cor van den Heuve, a well-known American haiku writer.
This is his:
reading a mystery
a cool breeze comes through
the beach roses
One could speculate for hours on the exact meaning – what mystery? a book, or something more profound? I wondered, too, what beach roses are, but a quick google answered that question.
This theme is so rich I wrote several haiku using it, but finally settled on the following as being truest to the original.
Reading a mystery
in the garden; a blackbird sings;
This little fellow comes from a museum in Holland, but I can’t recall which museum or what exhibition he was part of.
I was browsing through some old photos and came across him. I know why I kept his picture. He’s trying so hard and getting so cross in the process – a familiar experience.
The picture reminded me of a poem by Josephine Miles that I stumbled across recently called Effort for Distraction. The full poem is on the Poetry Foundation site, but it’s the first verse is what really suits.
Effort for distraction grew
Ferocious and paced, that was its exercise.
I don’t know what our little creature was working on, but I do hope he was successful.
According to Wikipedia there are several ways of determining which poem to use. Some of the systems involve writing a poem or some poems’ titles on bits of paper (or tree-bark if you want to be really authentic), putting the papers in a pot and drawing one out (without looking of course). Alternatively you can spread the papers over your desk and toss a die at them. The one the die lands on is the one you use.
Fortunetelling isn’t really my thing, but I was intrigued by my reading about rhapsodomancy so I thought I’d give it a go. Writing a lot of titles or lines out seemed like work and a waste of paper, but using the die is a good idea, so I decided to adapt that. It took a few goes to make it work, so what follows isn’t entirely my first effort.
Some time ago I was given a copy of a lovely book, Poem for the Day: One edited by Nicholas Albery, which has one poem for each day of the year. It seemed a good book to use as my text – very varied poems by many poets.
To find the poem I need I have to have a randomly chosen date. Since we are in the first half of the month I decided the date used should to be in the first two weeks. So I toss a die. It lands on 6.
I don’t need another toss – I’m not going to do any adding. If I used another toss I might get a 1 or 2 and could use them with the 6 to give me 16 or 26, but I’ve already decided to rule these dates out.
So now to toss for the month. I get a 2 – February. I toss again in case I get December, but I don’t – I get a 3. Since there are no months 23 or 32, I stick with February.
The shepherds’ swains shall dance and sing
For thy delight each May morning.
If these delights thy mind may move,
Then live with me, and be my love.
All this die work is just the preamble. We’re now at the tricky part, which is working out what it means.
An experienced diviner could probably draw a lot of conclusions from such a verse. My immediate reaction is that next May there will be dancing and singing near enough to me for me to observe it and maybe join in. This is such a cheerful prediction that I’m going to stop there and wait until May 2016 to see if it comes true.
If any of my readers see something different in the verse, I’d love to hear what it is.
As usual Chèvrefeuille has set an interesting poetic challenge on Carpe Diem. It’s well worth reading the article about Lake Tana and its rich spiritual history.
Some of the poems inspired by this challenge are truly lovely.
I’ve followed in my fellow poets’ footprints with a tanka:
The Blue Nile flowing
from Tana, once heard the songs
of monks and pharaohs.
Now the cloisters are ruins;
the songs but faded legends.
An upcoming book that promises to be both exciting and heartwarming.
Originally posted on Belinda Broughton:
Belinda Broughton: Sparrow, Poems of a Refugee
It will launch at 3.00 p.m., Saturday 5th September 2015, at The Light Gallery, Centre for Creative Photography, 138 Richmond Rd, Marleston SA 5033, Australia.
Feel free to pop over, all ye other-side-of-the-worlders!
Will post buying details soon. It will be available from Ginninderra Press, (you have to scroll down to my name) but it doesn’t stay in one’s cart yet; perhaps the link broke. Try again tomorrow.
Here is the blurb from the back cover. What a succinct piece of writing!
A new poetry book. Congratulations to Kimberly, a book represents a lot of hard work.
Originally posted on silentlyheardonce:
On August 14, 2015 my new book of poetry “Whispers I Silently Heard” will be available everywhere!!!!!
Whispers I Silently Heard is a large collection of my poetry dating back to the nineteen seventies. I am very proud of the work I put into creating this collection.
You can purchase an autograph copy by simply emailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org to request a copy and I will send you and invoice.
Whispers I Silently Heard will be available on Kindle, Nook and other eBooks
The paperback will be available at Create a space and you will be able to go to your local bookstore and ask them to order you a copy.
You can pre-order your Kindle copy here
As always I thank you for your support.