I'm not feeling too well this week to be honest. Is it just the thought of the StAnza poetry festival and all those poets clamouring that brings me out in a rash? No, it can't be...
Anyway I have been watching films to take my mind off other things. I watched 'An Education' and enjoyed it - she really is a captivating actress in the lead role and indeed all the casting is excellent (Alfred Molina as crap Dad is especially good). It's full of lines about how 'I simply must go to Oxford' (not an actual line) but as long as you can cope with that you'll be OK.
Then yesterday I watched 'Bright Star' - Jane Campion's movie about John Keats (1795-1821) and Fanny Brawne. It's a very beautiful film (as you might expect) and it's slow and meandering and shows you a fair amount of boredom, frustration and stupidity early 19th century style. The lead actors are very, very watchable - almost as pretty as the bluebells. A while back I did read the Andrew Motion biography of Keats that Campion worked with but I can't say I enjoyed reading that as much as I did his Larkin biography (but then Motion actually knew Larkin so that probably helped the book have more life). What I did enjoy in this film though were quotes from Keats about poetry (in the film they come out as he tries to teach Fanny about his art). Here are a few:
"A poet is not at all poetical. He is the most unpoetical thing in existence. He has no identity, is continually filling some other body...the sun, the moon..."
"Poetic craft is a carcass, a sham. If poetry does not come as naturally as leaves to a tree than it better not come at all."
"A poem needs understanding through the senses. The point of diving in a lake is not immediately to swim to the shore but to be in the lake, to luxuriate in the sensation of water. You do not work the lake out...it is an experience beyond thought. Poetry soothes and emboldens the soul to accept mystery."
Originally from the north of England, I live in Angus, Scotland where I walk a lot, think a lot, listen to lots of music, sometimes write poems, sometimes read poems out to other people, sometimes write songs, read all kinds of odd things, watch a bit...oh and I look after my family too.
I sometimes organise poetry and music events - details are usually here (though nothing coming up in the near future). This year I went travelling with my family - photos and notes are here. Now we're back I have moved to a new regular blog - it is here.
More about the song
You can buy my book (published 2008) from my website if you fancy it (go to 'book' page) or from www.amazon.co.uk if you prefer the comfort of the multinational corporation. My book is printed on recycled paper and card. I have 12 different poetry postcards available too.