Earlier this month, I wrote a Monday Musings on Poetry Month, at the end of which I asked readers to name their favourite poem.
Poetry Month finished yesterday, 31 August, so I thought I’d close out the month by listing the nominated poems, alphabetically by poet. I should add that some commenters cheekily named more than one (so I did too). Links on the poem title takes you to an online version
- Matthew Arnold’s The forsaken merman (Meg)
- WH Auden’s O what is that sound (Glen Hunting)
- Rupert Brooke’s The jolly company (M-R)
- Wendy Cope’s Bags (LouLou)
- J.V. Cunningham’s To what strangers? What welcome (the last of this sequence) and Century of epigrams (one of) (George)
- Paul Laurence Dunbar A Negro love song (Melanie)
- Eugene Field’s Little Boy Blue (Meg)
- Thomas Hood’s I remember, I remember (Meg)
- AE Housman’s Loveliest of trees the cherry now (LouLou)
- Gerard Manley Hopkins’ Spring and fall (me)
- Oodgeroo Noonuccal’s We are going (me)
- Mary Oliver’s Wild, wild (Sue from NSW)
- Anne Parratt’s Man’s home is in the mind (Lisa)
- Dorothy Porter’s View from 417 (me) (And look at this poetic response!)
- Sir Walter Scott’s The lady of the lake, read by Charles Bukowski (Meg)
- Randolph Stow’s The land’s meaning (Glen Hunting)
- James Wright’s Lying in a hammock at William Duffy’s farm in Pine Island, Minnesota (Jeanne – Necromancy never pays)
- Judith Wright’s Woman to child (Glen Hunting)
- WB Yeats’ The folly of being comforted (George)
If this list has suddenly inspired you to add your own, please do so in the comments, and I will add it to this list.
Meanwhile, here are some thoughts about poetry posted on Instagram by the month’s organisers, RedRoom Poetry
“Poetry … brings me great comfort and discomfort, and I’m thankful for both” (David Stavanger, Lead Producer))
“Writing is also an act of reading–not only books but all forms of textuality: the ground, the vegetation, the ‘world around us’. (John Kinsella, #30in30 writing prompt)
“Poetry for me is the project of trying to put into language ideas and states of being that feel unnameable or uncontainable” (Izzy Roberts-Orr, Digital Producer)
“Poetry has no limits or positions. It is a freedom. It can be one word or many.” (Tenzin Choegyl, #poetryambassador)
And this, a challenge for Bill:
“I’m not interested in hearing people read other people’s poems. I’d rather listen to a truck driver read out a poem about his truck, than the world’s finest actor read out the world’s finest sonnet. It’s about the poet for me.” (Brendan Cowell, #30in30)
And finally, to close out Poetry Month, an image from RedRoom Poetry’s Instagram account of one of the many poems posted during the month (as part of the paired-poets #fairtrade project). (I think it is ok, copyright-wise, for me to share this)
And remember, it’s not too late to share your favourite/s.
25 thoughts on “Poetry Month 2021: Your favourite poems”
Thank you for indulging my cheekiness, Sue. Then again, you must know now from your own multiple selections that one is just not enough. Great choice of “We Are Going.” I also love Oodgeroo’s tongue-in-cheek one about the untouchable python eating all her mother’s chickens.
I was participating in a landscape writing workshop here in Alice last weekend, and I got talking afterwards to a lady who had only been in town two days. Turns out it was Sarah St Vincent Welch, who co-runs That Poetry Thing online, and who knows you and Sarah Dowse from working at the NFSA. One expects this sort of thing to happen in my home town (Perth is infamous for it), but now the phenomenon is national! And my new copy of West Bank turned up in the mail the other day, too.
Brendan Cowell’s comment is interesting. I remember someone opining that it was foolish to have Jack Thompson sing the theme song for “Sunday Too Far Away” because his singing is (technically speaking) pretty awful. But I’ve always thought that was the point of it; the voice is completely authentic to the character and his life situation. Reminds me of a quote from Doc Tydon (Donald Pleasence) in the film of “Wake in Fright”: ‘It’s death to farm out here. It’s worse than death in the mines. You want them to sing opera as well?’
Haha, Glen, I was very glad of your and Meg’s cheekiness. Hard to even limit it to 3. Hopkins’ and Noonuccal’s poems have been favourites since my youth. Old poems die hard! And Porter’s of course a more recent one. I noticed that my three are all about death in one way or another.
Oh yes, I knew Sarah was travelling in the Centre. She’s a lovely warm-hearted person. And of course you know who Sara Dowse is! How lovely that you met Sarah and made that connection.
As a poor singer myself, I think Thompson was brave, but I agree with you. Authenticity carries its own weight.
Did you see the Stella Prize is going to broaden its remit next year to allow poetry collections to be considered?
Hi Kimbofo, I saw their announcement that the prize was changing, but everything I clicked on didn’t seem to tell me the changes, so thanks for this. The 2022 judging panel looks good, with Melissa Lucashenko as the chair.
A Volvo road train
Red desert golden wattle
A path to follow
Well done Bill. I like I think you have a new career as a haiku poet.
O I hope I’m not too late. Didn’t know about August being the poetry month. I’ve just prepared a poem to post this Saturday. That’s inspired by the new Netflix original series starring Sandra Oh, The Chair. (My short review in my current post.) Not sure if you have it in Netflix Australia.
I think we see a new Sandra 0h promoted, Arts, but we haven’t subscribed to Netflix yet! We seem to have enough to watch without it, even though it does mean we miss out on some good things! I’ll look out for your post. I’m very behind in post reading.
Of the poems that I have more or less memorized, I suppose Yeats’s “The Folly of Being Comforted”, and one or another of J.V. Cunningham’s poems: the last of the sequence “To What Strangers, What Welcome” or one of the “Century of Epigrams”.
I have heard very few recordings of poets reading their own poems. My recollection is that Theodore Roethke disappointed with “My Father’s [Papa’s?] Waltz”, and that Nabokov did not disappoint with “An Evening of Russian Poetry”. A friend who knew such things said that the actor Peter Lorre did excellent readings of German poetry. And if Rilke didn’t bother to record his, and Goethe couldn’t have, why not, I suppose, listen to Peter Lorre?
Sorry I’ve taken an while to respond George. Somehow yesterday ended up being very busy. I will add the Yeats and Cunningham to my list. I think Hopkins is the only one I’ve fully memorised, but I guess we all remember lines don’t we? For me, it’s mostly from my youth – lost of bits of Hopkins, bits of TS Eliot, lots of Shakespeare, bits of the Romantics …
As for Peter Lorre, yes, why not. I remember his face but not his voice, I must say. I have been to poetry readings, but I don’t think I’ve heard many recordings. Sounds like I need to go on a YouTube expedition!
Is Century of epigrams the same as Epigrams? I’ve chosen no. 30 about The Humanist, because it made me laugh. I’ll have to read more of these as I only read three or four.
Epigrams: it might depend on the edition you get. The ones that come first to mind are “Epigraph on a College Yearbook”, and the one on The Helmsman (“Of thirty years, ten years I gave to rhyme…”).
Thanks George … I’ll try to check out those. They sound intriguing.
Wild, Wild, by Mary Oliver! There are so many poems I love it’s hard to choose one I adored poetry at school! Do they still study poetry at high school now?
Thanks Sue. I’ve added that. I have heard of Mary Oliver but don’t really know her poetry. I haven’t provided a link to the poem, because one of the sites I found noted that Oliver’s publisher had asked her to remove Oliver’s poems from her website, so I suspect there is a copyright issue. However, people can find it online if they look – I found one on a blog, and another on Pinterest!
I enjoyed poetry at school too but don’t read enough now. I think they still do some poetry at school, though my children are well over a decade out of school now so I made be out of touch.
It’s difficult to pick because there are so many poems that I love – but a current favourite is “Bags” by Wendy Cope, which I cannot find a copy of anywhere online. So as an alternative I also love “Loveliest of trees the cherry now” by AE Houseman (https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/44411/a-shropshire-lad-2-loveliest-of-trees-the-cherry-now), which has been a favourite since I was a teenager.
So sorry LouLou. I didn’t see that you had gone into moderation. Thanks so much for joining in. I have added both your choices, as it wasn’t required for the poem to be available online. One of mine wasn’t. I wish though I could read Bags! The title is intriguing. I have liked some Housman.
I love that cities like Detroit have some great working-class poets. My favorite poem has been Paul Laurence Dunbar for a long time. I love that he’s funny, but also sweet, I enjoy how he writes in dialect but also classical forms. My favorite poem of his is called “A Negro Love Song.” Here’s a link to it: https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/44198/a-negro-love-song
SNAP, Melanie. Last night we watched Hitsville, the story of Motown! Love that music, which also has poetry at its base, really.
I have read some Paul Laurence Dunbar, but don’t really know him. Thanks for this and for the link! That made it easy for me,
Detroit is an absolute gem, and I’m always hoping it will come back and get off the life support, so to speak.
I’ve never been there… But yes I hope so too.
Washington, DC, has a high school and an apartment building named after Dunbar, by the way.
Thanks George. That’s great, isn’t it. Ue have a suburb here named after a woman poet, Wright. Most suburbs are named for white men.
Nice! Also, if you like Paul Laurence Dunbar, you may enjoy Herbert Woodward Martin, who is still alive and known mainly not only for his resemblance to Dunbar, but his magnificent readings of Dunbar’s poems.
Oh, I haven’t heard of him at all. Will try to check him out.