Tag Archives: culture

Can Books on Poetic Craft Turn you into a Poet?

A couple of days back, I fell into conversation with a jazz musician. We talked about jazz, his teaching of music and the jazz performance I had recently attended at my local pub. On me mentioning that I am a poet, my companion said that he had recently been given a copy of Stephen Fry’s “The Ode Less Travelled: Unlocking the Poet Within, https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B003V4AT1C/, and that he had just started to compose poetry.

I have not read Fry’s “The Ode Less Travelled”, consequently I’m unable to comment on the book. I did, however say to my companion that whilst books on poetic craft may, in some instances, be helpful, its crucial to read as much poetry (of all kinds) as possible to enable the development of one’s own unique style. Such reading will bring one into contact with poetry which is not to your taste, however this is, nonetheless useful in honing the poets ability to compose verse.

I am not dismissing works on poetic craft. Indeed I have on my shelves “The Poet’s Voice and Craft”, which consists of a series of lectures by famous poets explaining how they go about writing poetry, and other aspects of poetic craft, (https://www.carcanet.co.uk/cgi-bin/indexer?product=9781857540208). Whilst I’d have no hesitation in recommending this book, in my opinion reading Keats, Housman, Blake, Larkin, Auden and a myriad other poets will prove of more benefit than pouring over numerous tomes on poetic craft.

Of course there is a danger that by reading other poets, we come to replicate them. One must always be wary of falling into the trap of (either consciously or unconsciously) trying to outWordsworth Wordsworth, or outBlake Blake, but by reading other poets and absorbing the poetic tradition, one learns, over time to develop one’s own unique voice.

I have been told that a number of my poems remind readers of Emily Dickinson, Larkin and a number of other poets. I have never (consciously) attempted to write in the style of any poet, but take such comments as compliments. We build on the poetic tradition. We can, of course augment it but, ultimately we are all part of the great cultural heritage that has gone before.

As ever, your comments are most welcome.

Kevin

Philosopher Sir Roger Scruton Dies

I was saddened to read of the death of the philosopher Professor Sir Roger Scruton, https://www.standard.co.uk/news/uk/conservative-roger-scruton-dies-a4332461.html.

Back in October 2018, I reviewed Sir Roger’s “How to be a Conservative, https://kmorrispoet.com/2018/10/14/how-to-be-a-conservative-by-roger-scruton-book-review/.

As I say in that review, the book offers something to both Conservatives (in the political sense of the word), and also to those who would not consider themselves as political Conservatives but who do, nonetheless cherish the English countryside and the traditions of this country.

“Pain and Renewal” anthology released by Vita Brevis Press

Vita Brevis Press has just released an anthology entitled “Pain and Renewal”, which can be found here, https://vitabrevisliterature.com/poems/vita-brevis-anthology-pain-renewal/.

Vita Brevis describe the anthology as follows:

“Pain & Renewal features a collection of incredible voices — from Pulitzer and Pushcart prize winners to brand new poets, it’s filled with moving poetry about the highs and lows of the human experience”.

James Burke Predicts the World in 2030

Today’s World this Weekend, on BBC Radio 4, contains reflections by the science writer, James Burke, on the developments he believes will take place by 2030.

Amongst Burke’s predictions is that by 2030 humans will be able to live autonomously, in a location of their own choosing, people will be able to create anything using nanotechnology, we can “forget privacy”, and climate change will be solved by technological developments, for example the production of artificial meat negating the need to keep livestock.

I am no scientist (my degree being in history and politics), however Burke’s view that science will solve all problems strikes me as overly optimistic, and that’s putting it mildly!

Whilst I’m sure that some of the things predicted by Burke will come to pass – indeed some, such as the use of nanotech to solve health issues are already baring fruit – I’m sceptical of the timeframes postulated. Also his implied view that we don’t need to change our way of living to tackle climate change (as science will solve everything) is not one shared by most scientists and I, also am unconvinced by Burke here.

I am a believer in individual liberty and I’m extremely wary of governmental intervention in the lives of consenting adults. However individuals don’t exist in a vacuum. We owe duties to one another and our lives are enriched by friendships and other social interactions. Listening to Burke’s broadcast it is, to my mind to individualistic and lacking in an appreciation for the complex relationships, institutions etc which make it possible for individuals, families and communities to live the good life. His view does, I believe chime with libertarians (of left and right) rather than with the one-nation Conservatism which, broadly speaking shapes my outlook on life.

You can find Burke’s interview approximately 25 minutes into the podcast, which can be found here, https://www.bbc.co.uk/sounds/play/m000cnbw.

Blast from the past!

Back in 2015 I released ‘Dalliance; a collection of poetry and prose’ in Kindle and Paperback format. Whilst the Kindle version is still available, the Paperback version (pictured below) is out of print. The Paperback was published by an independent publisher, who have since gone out of business, hence the print book is perhaps, something of a collectors item!

As those of you who follow this blog will know, my ‘Selected Poems’ and ‘The Writer’s Pen’ are available in Kindle and Paperback format. I hope, in the not too distant future, to reissue ‘Dalliance’ in Paperback.

Dalliance is available here for the UK and here for the US.

Dalliance

‘In this world, where nothing really exists, I kiss your cold, dead lips. Meaningless dalliance in this land of the dead, no words spoken: there is nothing to be said. Emotions stifled, frozen in ice, held in deaths stone grip.’

 

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