The Maker The Charles Causley Literary Blog
My 5 Favourite Poems I Think You Should Know About
Howdy! My name’s Caroline Bond and I am going to be writing for The Maker in the next couple of weeks. In honour of World Poetry Day today (Tuesday 21st March); I have compiled a list of my favourite poems I think everyone should read. These poems appear in no particular order (trust me it was hard enough narrowing them down to five!).
My first choice is Carol Ann Duffy’s ‘Away and See.’ A former UK Poet Laureate, Duffy is an infamous feminist writer. This poem belongs to her fourth poetry collection, Mean Time: a dramatization of scenes that she recalls from her childhood and early adult life. I love Duffy’s description of the sensory and how it creates a comforting yet encouraging tone:
Away and see the things that words give a name to, the flight
of syllables, wingspan stretching a noun.
wherever they live; listen and touch, smell, believe.
Spell them with love.
Second on the list is Charles Bukowski’s ‘3:16 and One Half ….’ Labelled as America’s most iconic and imitated poet Bukowski’s poetry hardly requires an introduction. The thing I love about Bukowski’s work is how he navigates the boundary between honest and blunt. My favourite thing about this poem, is how self-aware he is in the monologue. At the end of the poem, he disregards any purpose and succumbs to sleep:
the libraries are filled with thousands of books of knowledge,
great music sits inside the nearby radio
and I am sleepy in the afternoon,
Next up we have Sophie Herxheimer’s ‘Poet.’ Taken from her experimental anthology 60 Lovers to Make & Do: Herxheimer writes a collection of women who fashion themselves companions from everyday objects. Herxheimer’s linguistic brilliance serves for a brilliantly, funny, completely bonkers poem!
She drafted a lover from garden spiders,
jumble sale table-linen and gratings from
her late grandmother’s lavender soap.
Next is ‘Pandemic vs Black Folk’ by Victoria Adukwei Bulley. In this poem Bulley uses her experience of the coronavirus pandemic as a powerful metaphor for race and racial prejudice. Raised in Essex, Bulley is an established poet and writer of Ghanian heritage. Here she writes a beautifully intelligent and meaningful poem:
Things being still early, we hug first & remember second.
Arms are thrown about backs, fingers gesture towards
hair, admiring a careful day’s work of braids.
Cue laughter as usual, cue knowing smiles –
Finally, we have the wonderful Charles Causley poem, ‘Angel Hill.’ If you don’t know who Charles Causley is, then you’ve come to the right place! Here, you can see how his service during WW2 has impacted his poetry. This is classic Causley and my personal favourite of his poems:
‘By day and night on the diving sea
We whistled to sun and moon,’ said he.
‘Together we whistled to moon and sun
And vowed our stars should be as one.’
No, never, said I.
Words by Caroline Bond