Sunday, 30 August 2009
'The Ode Less Travelled'
This book by Stephen Fry was recommended to me by a student of the Open University course A215. I think it's brilliant! There's something so elitist about the way some people are taught poetry, as if, like Latin, it belongs in private schools and to the 'well read'. I'm loving the book, which takes you through the structure of poetry very quickly - and makes you write from the first few pages. I couldn't see the point of writing iambic pentameter (the only form I knew at all - and that only because it's Shakespearish) but now it rings in my head when I'm writing - as do other rhythms. I'm amazed at how, once you get the metre right, you can play around with trochees and weak endings and all sorts of substitutions. I've been reading poetry out loud, and beginning to hear the rhythm of modern poetry as well - even if it's more subtle. And re-reading favourite poetry has enthused me again. Suddenly I'm very critical of all the poems I have ever written because they don't sound right. A few years ago I played around with Sibelius and found I could just compose by ear - not necessarily very well - because I had listened to so much music over the years. It just had to sound right. I have read many books of poetry but not aloud, not experimenting with the sound. It's starting to ring in my head when I read now, even if I can't read out loud because I'm in company. I recommend it enthusiastically!