Friday, 16 January 2015

A Poem A Day Keeps the Cobwebs Away

I actually made my new year's resolutions on Monday 12th January, because that was the day that I finally made it out of the post-Christmas morass of cleaning, washing, ironing, using up left-overs, and arguing with hubby about what happened on New Year's Eve (oh, the poison of alcohol! how it loosens tongues and brings out a person's weakest points!)

So first resolution (as mentioned in the post below but one) is to write something every day. I've also set myself various reading goals, which include to read a classic short story every day (I'm currently working through Katherine Mansfield starting at the end of her output, and working backwards), a modern short story every day (John Cheever but working forwards) and to read a poem every day. 

Reading a poem every day is the shortest work in time span, but by far the most interesting.  I haven't actually read any poetry seriously since I was at university, 40 years ago, and had shied away from it, wondering where it would fit in my life.  When you look at the idea as a personal goal, instead of entertainment (which it really is not) or an academically imposed task (which kills it stone dead), the project is extremely liberating.  I open a book of poems at random.  The one I'm using is "The Oxford Book of Contemporary Verse, 1945 -1980", which I've had since 1992, as inscribed on the flyleaf.  I don't recall that I have ever read any of them.  I then pick one off the page to read, and give it a bit of thought. Then I might go back to it later in the day, and often another aspect reveals itself.  I'm just loving it.

And then I spotted Hilary Mantel's tip, item 3 in the list below, so I feel even better about it! 


  1. My thoughts about poetry are totally like yours.

    While my mum has a prodigious memory for bits of poems, the only ones I can remember are a couple from Spike Milligan's Silly Verse for Kids. Maybe one day I'll try and read something more serious and get more out of it. I like the idea of your personal project. :)

    1. Thanks, Sarah. Hope one day you do find the pleasure!