Poetry Friday: The Hug

Next week is National Poetry Day. I’ve been gathering some poems from colleagues, partly for display and partly for a quiz for students – am thinking kind of a¬†treasure hunt, though not sure about encouraging them to maraud around the school ūüėČ I probably won’t put this one in (I’m not sure which I’ll choose yet!) but I love reading it with sixth form as part of the¬†Love through the Ages unit.¬†This, to me, is love. It’s creeping into bed with a lover¬†with whom you’re so¬†familiar that you just fit, every inch. ¬†It’s pressing together because you just need that …

Poetry Friday: Winter Swans (Owen Sheers)

I love this collection – Skirrid¬†Hill. It’s a strange combination of ideas, exploring a range of family poetry (the death of Sheers’ mother, relationships between son and father) and a lovers’ relationship. Some of those poems in particular veer from the erotic imagery of making love on the floor so hard she bears the scars of the floorboards, to the valentine’s dinner in Paris, and the heart-breaking Keyways, musing on the irony of cutting keys for the first time so you can pick up items from the other’s flat following a break-up. I dipped in and out of the collection …

Poetry Friday: In an Artist’s Studio (Christina Rossetti)

Christina Rossetti’s poem about her brother – and more importantly, his muse Lizzie Siddal. I came across it a couple of years ago when the BBC series about the Pre-Raphaelite movement was on, and I was looking for love poetry for one of my sixth form lessons. This poem is certainly about love, but it’s a very unbalanced, dangerous love that is being reflected. Rossetti isn’t openly critical of her brother’s attitude towards his lover – more, she seems to understand it yet pity the muse who is impossibly stuck in the relationship, unable to change it with a lover …

Poetry Friday: The ABC (Spike Milligan)

A lovely antidote to last week’s sad affair! One of the fabulous things about literature, and poetry in particular, is that there’s something suitable for all occasions and this is a great cheerful poem from a great nonsense writer. I’m not often a fan of nonsense poetry – as a writer and teacher I love searching for hidden meanings, and the way that poetry expresses emotions in perfect little translucent bubbles of language.

Poetry Friday: Death is Nothing At All

Bit of a sad one today in some ways – apparently this is popular at funerals (odd phrase) and that’s where I heard it too. If you don’t do well with sadness, then feel free to skip this one and come back next week, or read an earlier one again that’s more cheerful! It’s been a little over a year since my grandma died, and her house is being sold¬†today – which is the last thing, really, left ‘to do’. I don’t think tasks and jobs like that are given enough importance when we talk about grief. The focus tends …

Poetry Friday: Love after Love

I first came across this poem in an anthology – it is on an English GCSE¬†specification, though I’ve never read or studied it – when I was looking for something for a lesson, I’ve forgotten what. It resonated with me immediately, because there’s something so powerful about the sentiment of having loved and lost, and coming to the realisation that in fact the most important thing is to be happy and comfortable with yourself. Although in some ways I think I’m probably the same as when I was very little, in many, many ways I am completely different. Every time …