'She made us choose a poem and learn it off by heart. It would be useful, she said, if we were ever bored and at a dinner party; we could recite in our head. I couldn’t imagine ever being at a dinner party, but I can still recite ‘Ode to a Nightingale’.'
'My reading is profligate, promiscuous, a hopeless addiction. The evidence mounts behind the closed door of my bedroom. Broken-backed volumes that slip from my hand in the middle of the night accrete over weeks on the rag rug by my bed.'
Lawrence Sail and our host Julia Copus discuss two favourite classic poems by Emily Dickinson - ‘I heard a Fly buzz - when I died -’ and ‘I could die - to know -’', in Poetry Break.
'Writers, especially women, manage to write in all sorts of places. At the corner of the kitchen table while they knead the bread, in damp dugouts with shells raining down on their heads, in grim bedsits at the end of a long working day...'
'Once I've selected one of the poems clamouring for attention as a sacrificial victim, I'll send it off to one of the opportunities, and mark the date by which I expect to hear back... Which might be never.'
C. D. Rose investigates the allure of famous incomplete and lost texts and asks why we are so fascinated by these elusive literary works.
'The kind of fluidity I aspire to is exemplified by Ted Hughes, who could write a masterly short story such as 'The Rain Horse', but also rhymed light verse for children, lyrical season songs, confessional Birthday Letters, a film poem...'
'Outsiders masquerading as insiders. That's how I feel when I'm writing a book. Only pretending to inhabit the everyday world.'
'Wasn't every writer, like every Jew, an eternal alien? Didn't it constitute their very state of being? I would always be an outsider wherever I went. I might as well be one in beautiful countryside.'
Penny Hancock considers some famous examples of writers who have chosen, for various reasons, to remain anonymous, and why this, paradoxically, often increases the public’s interest in them.
Art forms often have similarities based on discipline and structure; an anecdotal look at comparisons between poetry and music by a practitioner of both.