Poetry Friday: Neutral Tones (Thomas Hardy)

I love this poem – like many that I’m reading regularly at the moment, it’s one I’m teaching and I almost always find that the ones which strike me first have more to them when you dig deeper asw ell. This haunts the reader – there’s such a cold bleak sense of winter in it, that you can’t help but see the pond. Although Hardy wrote many novels, I think I prefer his poetry more – to me his novels are often quite unwieldy, but his poetry is like snapshots, captured and complete. Neutral Tones We stood by a pond that winter day, And the sun …

Poetry Friday: A Week Later (Sharon Olds)

A week later, I said to a friend: I don’t think I could ever write about it. Maybe in a year I could write something. There is something in me maybe someday to be written; now it is folded, and folded, and folded, like a note in school. And in my dream someone was playing jacks, and in the air there was a huge, thrown, tilted jack on fire. And when I woke up, I found myself counting the days since I had last seen my husband-only two years, and some weeks, and hours. We had signed the papers and …

Poetry Friday: i carry your heart with me by e.e.cummings

I’m spending some time at the moment looking for wedding readings – not too frantically given it’s a year away, but also given my love of literature and the volume I’ve read about love (especially teaching the Love through the Ages A-level course). This poem keeps coming up as a suggestion, and it is beautiful. cummings is an interesting poet – I first came across him in a modernist American poetry class during my third year at university. Then, I think I had trouble seeing past the lack of punctuation and capitalisation which to some extent I still see as a …

Poetry Friday: Oh The Places You’ll Go

We sent Year 13 on their way today. Obviously they’ll be back for exams and results, and some of them pop in from time to time to say hello when they’re home from university which is always nice, but it’s a big day. I’ve taught some of them for four years, GCSE and A level, which is quite a long time really. I’ve enjoyed this year’s groups very much. They put together a leaver’s video, which I’m sure will be on youtube soon – last year’s currently has 8000 views which, considering the entire school is 800, is fairly impressive! …

Poetry Friday: Cinderella (Roald Dahl)

I love Roald Dahl’s work when I was little. We had an animated video of Revolting Rhymes (one of  which is below) and watched it over and over. I loved the slightly older books, the Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and the Witches kind of books, the ones that left you feeling like something terrible but wonderful had just happened to something familiar. I think what I loved about these poems (The Revolting Rhymes) was the subversion of the fairy-tales; it was long before I’d come across the original Grimm versions so pretty much the versions I knew were Disneyfied …

Poetry Friday: This is just to say (Williams Carlos Williams)

It might be Sunday, but I’m catching up on this post anyway 🙂 It’s been a very hectic week! This is always an interesting poem to kick start a discussion on what a poem really, truly, IS. Often if you ask someone that question without any guidance, their list will include things like: It rhymes It’s got a rhythm It’s got short lines You might then, with a  bit of pushing and prodding, get to something along the lines of having more imagery, somehow, than a novel (though it’s often hard to define) and that it doesn’t usually tell a …