Hello there. Hope you’re feeling well today.I’ve never hidden in this blog the fact that whilst I chat about a whole range of books very rarely is poetry mentioned. Partly as I’ve explained it’s due to the fact that as a teenager in the seventies and eighties the price of a slim volume of poetry seemed to be the same as that for a far bigger novel. So my teenage mind said “what’s the point?” and bought the novel.
One of the consequences of this I think is that when a volume of poetry does enter my hands then with exceptions I’m not comfortable with it. With exceptions I’m not certain I’ve read it right.
Yesterday I had a little time on my hands so decided to do what I’ve promised in this blog for years now (I get there in the end) and listened on Spotify to Richard Burton reading a selection of the poetry of Dylan Thomas.
And I was enthralled.
Didn’t have the time to go through the whole album (life interfered) but I felt I understood now how to deal with poetry. As the old ad adage goes you try before you buy.
For I understood that listening makes you hear the cadences of the poet. Makes you understand how the particular poem is meant to be read. Also if the particular poet doesn’t appeal to you by ear then there’s no point in picking up a book and reading something by him/her. It’s a visceral thing.
It also explains how I like T S Eliot (when depressed) and John Betjeman. The first I was taught at in school the second really was the only well known contemporary poet people knew of in the seventies and eighties. In other words I heard them being read.
It doesn’t mean they’ll be a sudden influx of poetry in this blog. Just that I know what to do when the opportunity arises…..after all these years.
Which brings us to art galleries. Here in Wales it’s half-term. I have the next two days off and someone suggested to me I should take my daughter to an art gallery.
Metaphorically I fell off my seat laughing hysterically as if my next fitting was for a straitjacket. However outwardly I just gave a non-committal “we’ll see”.
Well we won’t see. My daughter is as interested in art as I am (which I suspect is because neither of us have any real talent for the subject). She will be bored. As will I.
Now I know exactly how to react to commercial art galleries. You have loads of money. Wander round. See a picture you like and say “I’ll buy this”. They flog pictures. I get it. But given I don’t have loads of money it’s not something I’d regularly practice.
But public art galleries. You wander round. See pictures. Some you like some you don’t and wander out. I know what daughter will say even by look alone. “We could have gone to a play or a film but you took me to this?”
And the people I really don’t understand in art galleries are those who seemingly spend eternities looking at one piece of artwork. If they were drawing it I get it. But looking? As if expecting something is going to move? What is it with that?
Perhaps like poetry it will come to me eventually. Probably that’s the moment when I’m so old I have to be wheeled around and my eyesight is so bad even with glasses I have to look right up as close as possible squinting to even work out the basic shapes.
Sometimes in life things just pass you by.
Until the next time.