Wednesday, 15 June 2011

Snog, marry, 'do': the poetry issue

This conundrum is my little sister's favourite, and she always finds excruciating and unanswerable trios, despite my refusal to engage in these games.

However, my teacher friend James has been confronted with a very similar choice. Without being given time to do any research, he's got to choose one of these poets to teach next year. Which one would you choose, and which one should he run a mile from?

Robert Browning (sadly, not Elizabeth)
W B Yeats
Edward Thomas
Emily Dickinson

Shame that they're all several generations old. I like R Browning (especially 'My Last Duchess'), but prefer Elizabeth. Yeats - despite supposedly being my national poet - I find almost unreadable these days. Too much dubious reactionary mysticism, too much strained phrase-making. Thomas is OK, though I've had my fill of poets tackling the vexed question of Welsh-English identity and of war. Dickinson I used to avoid but read more and more these days. I think she's very much a Marmite poet, though I could see her going down very well with the Goth girls in class.

Your thoughts?

8 comments:

Emma said...

Studied both Yeats and Dickison for English Leaving Cert (A levels). Found Yeats political stuff superior to his "love" poetry but think it will not be relevant today. Remember Dickison with some fondness.

The Red Witch said...

I liked Yeats "When You Are Old". He is my suggestion because I like all the political stuff and the Celtic revivalism.

The Plashing Vole said...

Thanks you two. I liked Yeats as a teen, but his very reactionary brand of nationalism came to seriously grate: I'm with the Red Nats. That Celtic revivialism was so backwards looking, and has basically succeeded in killing the Irish language by making it a museum piece.

Did you know he rerouted his testicles through his liver? Very odd man.

Anonymous said...

For - Yeats, avoid - Thomas but will never look at Liver & Onions again in the same way!

Benjamin Judge said...

I would go for Dickinson on the grounds that students might read the poems on the grounds of them being "well short innit".

Always thinking.

The Plashing Vole said...

Truly you are down with the kids.

Ewarwoowar said...

Who hasn't rerouted their testicles through their liver?

The Red Witch said...

Of course Yeats was odd. How many years did he hope Maud Gonne would love him before he finally gave up?
I would have stopped pining after a month but then I am not a poet.