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Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Reading for pleasure ... and insights

“If I were to die thinking that I'd written three poems that people might read after me, I would feel that I hadn't lived in vain. Great poets might expect the whole body of their work, but most of us - well, I would settle for a handful.” – Andrew Motion

Poet Laureate of the United Kingdom from 1999 to 2009, Motion’s poems are known for the insightful way in which they explore loss and desolation.   He has been a champion for poetry readings and supporting poets in the reading of their own work.  Toward that end he founded “Poetry Archive,” an online resource of poems and audio recordings of poets reading their own works. 

Motion, whose 63rd birthday was yesterday, is also the author of several acclaimed biographies including The Lamberts: George, Constant and Kit, which won a Somerset Maugham Award; and Keats: A Biography.

“Keats writes better about poems than anybody I've ever read,” Motion said.  “The things that he says about what he wants his own poems to be are the ideals that I share.”

By Andrew Motion
The moment I tire
of difficult sand-grains
and giddy pebbles,
I roll with the punch
of a shrivelling wave
and am cosmonaut
out past the fringe
of a basalt ledge
in a moony sea-hall
spun beyond blue.
Faint but definite
heat of the universe

flutters my skin;
quick fish apply
as something to love,
what with their heads
of gong-dented gold;
plankton I push

an easy way through
would be dust or dew
in the world behind
if that mattered at all,
which is no longer true,
with its faces and cries.

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