In honour of national poetry day, Thursday 6th October, I have asked some of the staff members their favourite poems, why they chose it as their favourites and how they make them feel.
Teacher’s favourite poems:
Mr Cocker – Porphyria’s Lover by Robert Browning
How does the poem make you feel: ‘Shocked! The reason I like this poem is because has an unconventional speaker and a twist that catches you unexpected.”
Mr Hodson – Love Songs in Age by Philip Larkin
How does the poem make you feel: “Morbid and reflective.”
Miss Taylor-Payne – Because I could not stop for Death by Emily Dickinson
How does the poem make you feel: “Makes me feel nostalgic for GCSE English as that’s what I studied, and it was the first time I really understood poetry.”
Mrs Stone – I heard a fly buzz – when I died by Emily Dickinson
How does the poem make you feel: “It makes me question my own mortality and question what happens when you die.”
Mr Johnson – TWO CHOICES!!
My favourite poem of all time is Catullus’ odi et amo. I love how it encapsulates so succinctly – in just two lines – the conflicting emotions of being in love, the pain, the joy, the uncertainty, the lack of control. I vividly remember studying it at GCSE and being super impressed by the way Catullus had created a criss-cross structure over the two lines, so that the conflicting emotions were mirrored by the structure of the poem itself.
My favourite poem in English is Shakespeare’s Sonnet 29. Whenever I feel a bit down, or envious of what my peers have achieved in life compared to my own achievements, this poem always cheers me up, despite its rather melancholy opening. It reminds me to focus on the things that I care most about and the fact that I wouldn’t give them up – not even for the wealth of kings.
Ms Nicholls – Lines Written a Few Miles above Tintern Abbey by William Wordsworth
How does it make you feel: “Reflective.”
Mr Roe – One of my favourite poems is The Raven by Edgar Allen Poe.
How does the poem make you feel: “It’s a poem that’s for winter and Halloween, if I had to equate a feeling it would be a strange mixture of melancholy and tension. Also, The Simpson’s did a great version of it: The Simpsons – Edgar Allan Poe: The Raven – YouTube – something that I found quite haunting as a child.”
Mr Gould –
One of my favourite poems is ‘As Bas As A Mile’ by Philip Larkin; in a style that’s typically lugubrious, Larkin conflates a simple act – throwing (and missing) an apple core in the bin – with an existential crisis about human failure. Larkin – a famous misanthrope – posits a question that we all consider: is it worth trying for if we are going to fail anyway? His view is that a miss by a small margin is the same as missing by a ‘mile’. I, like most grumpy teachers, like to grumble, moan and whinge. But I see Larkin’s utter determination to view the world through a negative lens and it makes me smile. It’s not that I enjoy the misery of others – but people like Larkin do take themselves very seriously. What’s life without trying? Even if you miss with the core, it’s worth the attempt (or so I tell myself). I love Larkin’s poetry – but we see the world in different ways.
How does the poem make you feel:
Mrs C – I am by John Clare
How does the poem make you feel: “I chose to teach this poem because at the time we were teaching Macbeth alongside war poetry and so I paired it with a few other poems including ‘Dulce et Decorum est,’ which look into the psychological issues surrounding violence and war. I remember reading it as a teenager and the imagery in the final stanza was amazing.”
Ms Kemsley – οὐκέτι μοι Θήρων γράφεται καλός, οὐδ᾽ ὁ πυραυγὴς
πρίν ποτε, νῦν δ᾽ ἤδη δαλός, Ἀπολλόδοτος.
στέργω θῆλυν ἔρωτα: δασυτρώγλων δὲ πίεσμα
λασταύρων μελέτω ποιμέσιν αἰγοβάταις.
- An epigram by Meleager (1stC BC)
How does the poem make you feel: “This poem makes me LOL and feel totally connected to a mind that lived over 2000 years ago.”
Mr C: I am by John Clare
How does it make you feel: “the first time I heard this poem was when my dad set it to music and it made me quite emotional. I’m told John Clare was locked away in an insane asylum and I thought there was an amazing amount of clarity that came out of it. When I think of the poem it makes me feel quite sad due to the state John Clair was in but also happy that he was still able to express himself.
Mrs Gitsham: The Lake Isle of Innisfree by W.B.Yeats
How does it make you feel: “Calm. It’s about nature and quite wistful. I discovered it years ago and I really like it. It’s a go to.”