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What rhymes with orange?

May 17, 2009

When we decided at the start of the year to shake up the Write Anything site, one of the areas we noted we were neglecting was poetry. Poetry has largely been seen as an irrelevance by many people in recent times – hard to understand, hard to write, pointless etc.

Yet poetry permeates our lives. We see poetry on memorials, gravestones, dedications – more than just the mealy mouthed sentiment of a Hallmark greeting card. We listen to poetry on the radio (for what are songs if not poetry?). In Britain recently there was intense interest and speculation over the appointment of the new Poet LaureateCarol Ann Duffy, the first woman to hold the position. Shakespeare, regularly touted as the greatest writer ever, packed his plays full of poetry, and is as renowned for his sonnets.

I’ve always shied away from poetry, believing it difficult and beyond my talents. Yet writers I admire, like Edgar Allan Poe, were poets as much as they were prose writers. So, I’ve decided to try my hand, for better or verse (sorry, worse).

I have obtained a copy of Stephen Fry’s book The Ode Less Travelled, a guide to understanding and writing poetry. If nothing else, I will have a better understanding of an art form I have always thought of as esoteric and unobtainable by someone like me. And you might get a few lines of nonsense verse to enjoy too, for which I apologise far in advance!

A poet friend of mine was pleased to hear that I have got the book (since he was the one who recommended it). Whether others will be as pleased to hear the output is another matter…

By the time you read this, Paul will be sitting in a holiday cottage in Cornwall, probably wondering if the rain will ever stop. It will be a nice break before the BUPA London 10,000, which is just over a week away. If you would like to sponsor Paul, please visit his donation page.
  1. May 17, 2009 3:21 am

    I have often seen The Ode Less Travelled at Borders and wondered what it was all about. Love Stephen Fry’s comedy and I imagine it’s a great read. I am guessing you’ll let us know how you go.

    What many of us forget is we “listen” to poetry every day. Song writing remains the most popular application of poetic writing. When my friends were studying english literature at high school they were able to pick their favourite song and use it for their poetry section. Some would argue that’s missing the point totally – however Jim Morrison thought of himself as a poet first and foremost. As consumers of music we are often as moved by the lyrics as we are by the music.

  2. May 17, 2009 7:46 am

    Sounds exciting.

    I love music and great lyrics in songs. Thanks for reminding me that they are basically poetry.

    …you’ve got me thinking now. Perhaps the next [Fiction] Friday? If we can.

  3. May 17, 2009 8:11 pm

    Or you could get a poet to write for the site on a semi-regular basis.

  4. May 18, 2009 11:16 pm

    I know we have looked at finding a poet to write on a regular basis on a few occasions – so heres another holler out – anyone like to put their thoughts down on their journey as a poet?

    As for trying my hand at poetry… ummmmm .. is that my mother calling me? was that the house on fire?.. oh dear – better pop off…. ( my last stint of poetry was dreadful teenage angst. I doubt its got much better)

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