Welcome To Talking Verse

This blog is dedicated to discussion on poetry.

Poetry, on the European side of the Atlantic, has hardly progressed since the early 20th Century. Whilst in the USA poetry continues to evolve and present itself afresh.

Part of the reason for this is that the issue of poetry has been debated widely in the USA whereas in Britain, for example, you will be hard pressed to find anything that challenges the status quo of poetry.

There have been a few attempts: the Liverpool Beat poets made an short-lived impact during the early 1960s, but they could only offer a poor imitation of a style from the USA.

A handful of poets in the 20th century did make an impact. Basil Bunting and Tom Leonard shook up the established schools. But compared to the US the impact is small. Whilst other art forms have managed to progress over the years, poetry has stood still. Only the narrative has altered to keep abreast of the times.

Many people look to poetry to ‘tell’ them something; as if poetry were some form of journalism or propaganda. The laureateship of Carol Anne Duffy has only reinforced that view. But it is not simply a case of blaming the poets. Duffy is only responding to a demand that arises out of a society that pushes art for other ends, rather than simply art for the sake of it.

Today there is a wide awareness of poetry, the internet is weighted down with poetry sites that offer varying degrees of quality. Poetry is as valid as any other art form but only as long as it operates as an art form. Poets should not be seen as harbingers and the audience should look for meaning rather than rely on the poet or critic to provide answers.


This blog welcomes essays and book reviews about poetry. Please do not submit any poetry. If you wish to use a blog to submit poetry then I would recommend The Poets' Graves Workshop.

All submissions will be read and editing suggestions may be put to the author before being posted. Rejection by the author of any suggestion does not preclude it from being posted on the site.

Talking Verse follows no particular school of thought and has no other remit apart from the widest debate on matters of poetry.

Please submit here

Wednesday, 23 February 2011

 Essay by Matthew Denvir

It is not uncommon for a poet’s work to be thematically concerned with death, and this is certainly the case with William Butler Yeats.  “The Wild Swans at Coole,” for example, is a melancholic poem that ponders the inevitable, unchangeable passage of time.  The speaker tells of the beauty of seeing the swans each autumn but laments the time when he will “awake some day / To find they have flown away” (132).  The poem establishes early on that the speaker is growing older, and therefore the idea that the seemingly eternal swans will someday be gone speaks to the fact that his soul will also have to fly away.  He will someday have to die.

Though this poem is a typical example of a poet’s depiction of death (elegantly sorrowful and with a sense of loss), it doesn’t represent Yeats’ final word on the subject.  His argument about death, about what it means to die, becomes more complex when his war poems are taken into account.  And it is with these poems that the reader sees an attitude about death that is strikingly different from that represented by his other work.  Simply put, in the universe created by Yeats’ poetry, death in war is a far different philosophical and existential experience than death by any other means.

The Poetics of Intolerance

Opinion Piece by Denis Joe

The news about the call to shut up US shock-jock, Glenn Beck, over the past month got me thinking about the ranters on this side of the Pond.

I recall it was one of the final Dead Good Poets Society open-mic nights at the Everyman, in Liverpool,  before it closed, temporarily, for refurbishment.