Category Archives: Other Peoples Poetry

On Holiday With the Poet Laureate

It’s not every day you get to go on holiday with a Poet Laureate, but I managed it, well, sort of. The Poet Laureate in question is the very amiable Bert Flitcroft, who is the poet laureate for Staffordshire for 2016. It was actually two poetry books he has published that accompanied me to Dubrovnik in Croatia, but by the time I’d finished two weeks with them, I felt like he was indeed there with me.

I met Bert recently at a reading session he did for our writing group. He read some of his work and allowed us, invited us, to make it an informal occasion. Brilliant. The comments and questions flowed and Bert gave us a remarkable insight into how he writes and how he sees contemporary poetry. It was a very rewarding afternoon. Bert with his confident assured readings and ourselves with the audience interaction. What strikes me about Bert’s poems is how accessible they are, anyone can reach into them very easily.

What I always like about poetry, is that poems allow you close to the poet. Poems always seem to have something of the poet entwined within them. This I think is particularly the case with Bert, he invites you to witness a marital moment of disagreement in Sonnet For A Bacon Sandwich and makes me smile broadly at the wry observation in Naked. Fishing is presented in a completely new light in First Contact and in my view he has written the best ever poem about retirement in Finished.

There are loads more, so many easily read poems but still poems that kept calling me back. It’s not the poems speaking, it’s Bert himself, and the words let me plug into his intellect. Believe me it’s worth it. Keepers for sure. Singing Puccini at the kitchen sink.  ISBN 978-1-907741-03-6   and Thought-Apples  ISBN 9780956551870 both by Bert Flitcroft. Go on, treat yourself.

 

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Currently reading

Poems of the Second World War..
edited by Dennis Butts& Victor Selwyn.

In particular the poem The Shelter (extract) by Wilfrid Gibson.

Why?
I love the lyrical language that opens the poem and which continues to unravel the story contained therein, a cameo of life at that time.

‘In the air-raid shelter of the Underground
Stretched on the narrow wire racks ranged around
The walls, like corpses in a catacomb
With brows and cheeks cadaverous in the light…’

What follows in the poem is a lyrical narrative containing a story that is a hugely compassionate boy-meets-girl theme that rises above the ordinary due to the circumstances of it all. The poem is both a poem, a narrative prose and also a signpost to what may matter in life philosophically, all at the same time weaving a spell on me as a reader.

On the opposite page to the poem is a full page black and white photograph of people in the air-raid shelter right in keeping with the theme which strengthens my enjoyment and appreciation of the poem’s setting, but of course you don’t need it to enjoy this lovely poetry.

Enjoy…Neil William Holland aka Soloneili, the poet in the car.