Happy National Poetry Day

The world is awash with lists: ‘10 favourite books that have touched your life’ is the one going around Facebook at the moment. The idea is that you post your 10 titles and nominate two other friends to do the same; an endless chain of recommendations.

When I did mine recently I struggled to stick to fiction. It made me want to make another list for poetry. What better day then on which to make such a list. In making my list I am focusing on poems for pleasure and poems that stimulate me to want to write myself. The technique of choosing a favourite line or title as a parting point is one I often use in the context of ‘writing for wellbeing’, where the emphasis is on writing as a process to enable the expression of thoughts  and feelings, as much as it is to produce a piece of creative work. Sometimes the two purposes overlap for me, as they do in most of the poems on this list.

Here goes, in no especial order:

  1. Eden Rock by Charles Causley
  2. Prayer by Carol Ann Duffy
  3. Handbag by Ruth Fainlight
  4. The Eve of St Agnes by John Keats
  5. Wild Geese by Mary Oliver
  6. The Red Wheelbarrow by William Carlos Williams
  7. Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening by Robert Frost
  8. The Voice by Thomas Hardy
  9. The Wasteland by T S Eliot
  10. Welsh Landscape by R S Thomas

If I could save just one from the fire which would it be? Eden Rock.

That was hard. And of course it isn’t complete. No such list ever could be. Ask me again next month or when I am in a different mood and I’ll probably choose a different ten.

What would be on your list?

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