I don’t know why it is, but even though I like listening to stories in the car, ‘Poems of War and Remembrance’ is the first time I’ve listened to poetry while driving. As I normally drive short distances, poetry is ideal. Not only this, I’ve discovered that it’s poetry that sparks my mind with these phrases that like to live and breed in my pocket notebook. I’ll share something about my reading and learning another time, but now I’d like to share something with you all: ‘The Rainbow’, by Leslie Coulson. http://www.firstworldwar.com/poetsandprose/coulson.htm
I love reading the War Poets: Brooke, Owen, Coulson, and others. Partly, I guess, because I’m not a fan of obscure poetry, or poetry that I have to research or study in order to appreciate. I like my poetry to be quite direct, or at least mean something to me without too much research. Take ‘The Rainbow’, for instance. The first time I heard it, I was really impressed by the juxtaposition of the beautiful and the terrible. I felt a little teary. But it was when I read it aloud to my wife, that the power of the poem hit me and I had real trouble finishing. Tears welled up in my eyes, and I choked up, so that it was hard to read the final line. I think it’s the clash between the beautiful colours of life, and the terrible situation on the trenches with all of that unnecessary death, but it’s also about the rhyme, and the repetition.
In the past wee while, I’ve also listened to Philip Larkin read his poetry, after receiving him sealed in an envelope in the mail. Some lines strike something off in my mind and they follow new paths, and explore new areas, which is good. At the present moment, I’m a great fan of his poem: ‘Next, Please’. Read and listen to it here.
(Philip Larkin is now angry at me, and tells me that if people like his bloody poetry, they can buy or borrow his bloody books or find the CD recording of him reading his poetry. Yes, true. Please do.)
Another wonderful thing I listened to in the car was the audio play adaptation of Clive Barker’s ‘A Hellbound Heart’. An excellent story, brought vividly into the mind of the listener by terrific editing, acting, and sound production. I’d recommend it very highly for anyone who isn’t put off by the title. You can download or purchase it here:
But now, back to the writing. I’ll describe what I’ve been up to, in terms of writing, next time.