National Poetry Month: Day 30

I carry my wounds like an aphid carries her children

Perhaps all these days
laid end to end
form a map of the heart
that lived them;
perhaps all these mornings
overlaid upon each other
form a topography
of the landscape inside
the mind that woke in them.
certain, however, that
in the drooping of the day
there is no poem,
only a falling curtain.

— Delilah Des Anges

There has been this month very little emphasis on meter, and that is because despite a number of poetry courses I have never really been able to get to grips with it much outside of a partially-intuitive de-DUM-de-DUM when attempting iambic prose or the like. Trochees, spondees and so on are far, far beyond my remit.

The closest I have been able to get to understanding how the devil one is supposed to make sense of meter, and indeed a book I would recommend in general for furthering your understanding of poetry and your own skills of prosody, was How Poetry Works by Phil Roberts. In recommending one book on poetry analysis and writing which works very well for me I should I suspect also recommend a book which does not work for me at all but which is very popular and has a chatty, down-to-earth approach to helping you write your own poems, Stephen Fry’s The Ode Less Travelled.

For a continuation of this month’s activities by greater minds than mine (not hard to find), in the short analysis of poems or poetic genres accompanying anthologies of poems, one cannot go far wrong with Staying Alive, edited by Neil Astley and published by Bloodaxe Books, or Axed Between The Ears edited by David Kitchen and published by Heinemann. 52 Ways of Looking at a Poem, edited & commentated by Ruth Padel is, as one might expect, also a good way to continue learning about poetry and poetry analysis.

Have you enjoyed the poetry this month? The mini-essays? Are you merely grateful that it’s all over? Whichever, why not take a little pocket change – or a lot! – and donate to MSF.


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