A poem. And a blog post. On the same day you say?!?! Good grief, I spoil you....
But really – it’s time to get the blogging ball rolling people. Hopefully you’re here because you enjoy poetry or want to get into it. Maybe you’re here to see if I crash and burn at this blogging malarkey. Let’s not hold our breath though. Or you might have read my first poem post (if you haven’t, READ IT NOW and say you like it before I cry manly tears) and wondered where my inspiration comes from. So I thought I’d share with you the five collections that inspire me to write poetry and why I think they’re all bloody brilliant. I’ll also add a link to buy them from Amazon (you’re welcome).
The Puffin Book of Utterly Brilliant Poetry - edited by Brian Pattern
This is the first poetry collection that I remember reading. I got it out of my primary school library (it was just a small classroom with ALL the books in it) and did not give it back for ages. Once my mum realised how overdue its return was, she bought it for me.
I vividly remember reading poems like ‘Chocolate Cake’ by Michael Rosen, ‘Talking Turkeys’ by Benjamin Zephaniah and ‘Sky in the Pie’ by Roger McGough and thinking they were nuggets of sheer hilarity. This book opened up a whole world of rhyme to me and I believe that this collection led me to love poetry as much as I do now.
The Mersey Sound – Henri, Pattern and McGough
This collection brought poetry back into my life. Reading through it, you can see why it brought these three poets the godlike status they have now. Most importantly, they inspired me to write again. Thanks fellas.
It is one of the most accessible collections I have and would recommend it to anyone who is starting to get into poetry. The language is simple and direct, so don’t worry - you won’t be left wondering what the bejesus is going on. As a whole you get a great blend of humour, heartbreak and melancholy from this collection. A damn fine little bedtime read too.
Ten Years in an Open Necked Shirt – John Cooper Clarke
Give this to anyone who says that they hate poetry – they’ll change their mind swiftly afterwards. What you see is what you get in this collection. No pissing about, shedloads of wit and a delivery so unique you’d be reading it in Cooper Clarke's Salford twang forever more. I guarantee you’ll be able to recite a poem from this book without knowing it.
I love how brash this collection is and its bullish delivery – each poem makes its presence known by beating itself into your head until you damn well remember it.
I should also warn you that the themes are not for little ones. There are poems here that contain lots of lovely swear words....and the occasional graphic cartoon of boobs (I didn’t buy it for this reason - I swear). Highly recommend that you don’t recite any from this book to you parents at the next family Sunday lunch. She’ll take the gravy from you and will never give it back...
Poems of the Underground – edited by Benson, Chernaik and Herbert
Its cover design is a hipster’s dream – it’s gorgeous. This book would look great on the coffee table in your Shoreditch pad and help make you look ‘edgy’ to all of the Tinder dates you bring back - you player.
But if you are a commuter in London, you have definitely read a poem from this collection, whilst packed like a sardine in a can, on the sweatbox known as the Central line. It bet it was next to that sodding vitamins advert where David Gandy watches you like Big Brother. One thing I am sure about is that it made your morning reading it.
There’s plenty more like that in this collection, all short, sweet and easy to digest. Like the chocolate sprinkles you got on your mid-morning mocha. Which is why I like it.
Hold Your Own – Kate Tempest
This is probably my most recent purchase and I regret not getting it sooner. Tempest is one hell of a wordsmith and she's surely the one of the best British poets we have had in the last ten years.
Her sense of rhythm and facility of rhyme seem effortless – you’d think this collection was scribbled out in mere minutes. Some poems from ‘Hold Your Own’ just stick with you, like the local sweet shop’s treacle. I first heard ‘Ballad of a Hero’ (check it out here – it’s ace) around six months back and I’ve loved Tempest's ever since. If I write anything like as good as hers, I’d be shouting it through a megaphone over the Sunday church bells. But then again, that'll make me burn in hell....worth it though.
So, have a read of some of these and afterwards, tell me....
But seriously, tell me. Do you agree? What poetry collections inspire you to write? Or just inspire you in life? Let me know with a cheeky comment and feel free to share this blog. Before Maximus Decimus Meridius gets angry. Cheerio!
So you're here
Great stuff. Feel free to have a gander at my poetry and blog entries to the left. If you want to know why on God's green earth this page is here, click on the 'About' tab up top.