Anyway – this week was National Poetry Week,in the UK, I believe. The news decided to mark this occasion by interviewing someone who’d won Young Poet of the Year, or some such prize, three times in a row. They filmed him reading his own poem – but talked all over the top of it, so no-one could hear it.
There was a series of programmes on recently when celebrities ‘declaimed’ their favourite poems whilst wondering over scenic spots, or some such accompaniment. It’s almost as if the Powers That Be daren’t allow us to just read poetry – it has to be read to us, often badly, and accompanied by something – anything visual.
Personally, I love poetry. From the intricate lines of Shakespeare’s sonnets, though Tennyson’s deep emotionalism, to Philip Larkin’s trick of expressing exactly what I feel in a more concise and perfect way, I love poetry. But it’s a private love. I don’t need it read to me. I don’t need swelling music in the background. I don’t need anything for my eyes to focus on but the page. Poetry is at it’s best when it’s just the reader and the words. That’s when it touches you deepest.
I can’t write poetry. I’ve tried. I can pretty much turn my hand to almost any style of writing, and produce something competent, if not brilliant. But poetry utterly defeats me. No matter what style I write, I cannot produce a poem. My prose is fairly poetical, but my poetry – well, lets just say it gives the Vogons a run for their money. (For you non-Hitchhiker fans – that means it’s very very very bad).
I wish I could. But I suppose I’ll have to be content with the words of those magical people who really can write a poem.