Thursday, 10 November 2011

My State of Reading

I know I don't read enough. Apart from my recent rapture in reading Willy Vlautin's three novels, I tend to dip in and out of poetry and don't read the prose/novels I should. I need the sun I think. I love reading outside in the sun. I'll have to move.

I did start two books today, finishing one, Roger McGough's lovely Penguin collection The State of Poetry.

I've read all of these poems before, but it's a mainly humorous set that had me laughing out loud on a number of occasions. Here's just one:


I have outlived
my youthfulness
so a quiet life for me.

Where once
I used to

now I sin
till ten
past three.

It was a wonderful time to be growing up and getting into poetry when Penguin Modern Poets 10 - The Mersey Sound came out in 1967 featuring Adrian Henri, Roger McGough and Brian Pattern. Poetry was then hip and irreverent and funny and so much of an inspiration to try and be similarly creative. These guys didn't make it seem complex or difficult. This and all those psychedelic lyrics made language such a hoot. Buying this book then was a cool thing to do. I will have bought mine probably in '68 - maybe even '69 - but still 14 or 15 years old.

Not that anyone reading this will need convincing, but McGough is a fine poet. Defying Gravity is such a strong collection. As well as this and others of his, I do prize his 'novel' Frinck  A Life In The Day Of and Summer With Monika poems, as well as An Imaginary Menagerie.

The other book, by the way, is John Steinbeck's Burning Bright. I thought I had read all of his but found this untouched at 30 pence for my 1974 Pan edition. Very mixed feelings about this at the moment. I'll write about it when finished, if anyone is interested.

1 comment:

  1. I love The Mersey Sound - especially a bit of Roger Mc now and again! Scintillate certainly makes me giggle - and there is definitely a place for 'fun'poetry in this often unfunny world of ours.
    I would like to hear what you think of the Steinbeck - I don't know that one at all. :-)