Wednesday, 13 May 2009

Poetry at Large

Have you seen the BBC's campaign advertising their poetry season? I saw one of the ads the other day. Frank Skinner was giving directions to a cabbie in the form of a poem. For an instant, it was mildly disturbing to hear the football-mad comedian reciting poetry, but I realised that was because there was something curiously sad and lovely about it. The sadness was in the poem, but I also felt a little sad because we don't encounter much poetry, these days; perhaps the Arctic Monkeys hit the spot every now and again, but it isn't enough. There was loveliness in the language, and in hearing someone 'ordinary' deliver it. I find I encounter the most poetry when someone has died, or another awful thing has happened, and it's so uplifting to enjoy a poem in an everyday way. (I'm so inspired, I just ordered 'A Poem A Day', a book of poetry for children by Adrian Mitchell and illustrated by the wonderful Lauren Child among others.)

Here's a link to the Skinner ad. The verse he recites is from 'Where Are the Waters of Childhood' by Mark Strand:

On the subject of poetry at large, I still haven't managed to track down Mary's dots, the subject of a poem I mentioned in my last post, although I did have a bit of a breakthrough. It was rather exciting, actually. I sent a note to the late poet Adrian Mitchell's agent, and guess who replied to me? Celia Mitchell - his wife. I felt honoured, because not only had she bothered to reply, naming the poem, the collection in which it was published and the page number it was on, she also said I could contact her if I had any problems finding it. (The book is now out of print.)  The problem is, the poem she cited - Song About Mary - is not the poem I am looking for. Not a dot in sight. I have ordered a second hand copy of Poems (1964) to make sure, but I fear the mystery deepens. 

For the record, here's a link to the Song about Mary that I think Celia is talking about:

Methinks this is becoming a bit of a poetry obsessed blog, so next time perhaps I'll venture elsewhere. Till then, I bid you adieu.


  1. Thanks for an interesting post, Kelly. I also love poetry and have many favourites.

    Hmmm ... it's turning into a bit of a mystery this Mary and her dots. I haven't found anything so far but will certainly let you know if I come across the one you're looking for.

  2. Woe is me! Mitchell's "Poems" arrived. His Song About Mary is not my poem. I am back to square one.