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, 1 June 2011

Don't You Wonder Sometimes About Sound And Vision?*

Two forms of poetry that succinctly display some of the most important elements of poetry are the Limerick and the haiku.

For many of us the first encounter with poetic s will be the Limerick and particularly those of Edward Lear.  The Limerick is a five-line poem (sometimes the third and fourth line appear as one to make a quatrain) whose rhyme scheme is AABBA.  The last word of the first line is also the last word of the final line.

The rhyme scheme (as well as the brevity of each poem) means that the Limerick is one that is easy to remember.  But the rhyme scheme also creates a sense of the comical or the absurd and though Lear intended these works for children we should not overlook how he exploited the ‘music’ of poetry to great effect, which meant that the primary experience of the Limerick is not the ‘meaning, but the sound the poem makes.  The playfulness of the language in the Limerick also helps to make it acceptable to the inexperience of childhood.