I hope everyone had a good Christmas. I don’t really do Christmas. But it gave me a chance to sit down and read a lot of poetry.
I re-read some of Frank O’Hara’s work. Discovering him was the key that got me in to poetry in the first place. His work is accessible and mixes what some might consider ‘high’ art with what others might consider ‘popular’. So an O’Hara poem might incorporate Classical Greek mythology, allusions to Renaissance poetry, and brand names such as Coca Cola.
I also read the work of Keith Douglas, a poet from the Second World War who died in France in 1944. His work is also accessible and often fun, filled with imagery and life inspired by his travels during the war.
But for me, the most inspiring book was Richard Thomas’s ‘The Strangest Thankyou’, a virtuoso performance in rhyme and poetry. Richard is a wonderful poet of great skill and each word seems perfectly chosen yet without making the poems themselves seem sterile. I have seen Richard perform on countless occasions and he always transports the listener to some other place, a world entirely of his own invention. This collection maintains that feeling until, by the end of the book, the reader starts to think like him. Which isn’t a bad thing. The moment I finished reading it I thought, hmmm, now I should be writing like that. It’s a magnificent volume and I really do recommend that everyone go out and purchase at least two copies.
Here’s a handy link: http://www.culturedllama.co.uk/featured-poem-flamingo-by-richard-thomas-03122012
So what’s next? I’ve got a month or so off from performance poetry matters. I’ve been working on a few new poems, but I’ve been mostly concentrating on my novel.
Anyway, happy new year, everyone.