Here is a list of Lifesaving Poems which I think ought to be better known. I have stolen the title of this blog post from the marvellous anthology of poems by the same name, which I will be reviewing here in due course.
A wonderful young poem whom we lost just as she was finding her voice.
‘No one escaped from that time.’
‘Someone loves the man who comes to my house/ to lay wire.’
‘Beautiful women,/ your skin can barely be seen.’
Biblical and religious references share the same earth as the Sunday Sport, Concorde and corner shops.
A parable of art and parenting: ‘They have done all this to surprise me,’ he says, ‘surprising themselves’.
A brilliant example of how a poem can appear to be ‘about’ one thing (dying your hair, secret trips to Boots), but is just as much ‘about’ other things (age, sex and death).
Ian McMillan said this was the best thing in his Against the Grain anthology of 1990.
This got me reading poetry again after having cancer in 2006.
Like teaching, like writing, it’s about love. It’s a love story. It’s not a blog.
or, On Being in a Writers’ Group
‘Defiant animus behind a mesh of wires.’ Brilliant.
or, How to Attend a Poetry Reading
or, When Poets Don’t Appear
On creativity, impermanence and mortality. It’s all in here.
A masterpiece of tact and restraint.
As above. The kind of poem which makes you wonder why we bother with novels.
Creativity and longing in West Hampstead.
A poem which made me stand up and cheer in my kitchen.
or, When One Poet Rescues Another Poet
‘This day is his. He’s grand with goodwill and beer and fears not a soul.’