"My own business bores me to death; I prefer other people's" – Oscar Wilde
“A poet can survive everything but a misprint.” Oscar Wilde
You will come to notice, as I post more and more onto this blog, just how incredible I think Oscar Wilde was. Completely, utterly and incomprehensibly articulate; a sheer genius. There will be, unquestionably, an infatuated gush in the form of a post to follow, but for now I would like to focus on poetry.
I have never been a huge poetry reader if I am totally honest. I did enjoy it at school when I managed to ‘crack’ a poem. That moment of clarity when you suddenly understand what a poem is actually about is brilliant. The first time that I ever remember achieving this eureka moment was while reading and analysing Sylvia Plath’s “You’re”. I won’t ruin it for those who haven’t read it before, but have a look at it and see if you can get it too.
However after A Level English, like most of my peers, poetry had come my least favourite form of literature, with prose as my definitive favourite. At University, beyond my first year, first semester compulsory course ‘Close Reading’, which was heavily poetry based, I never chose any modules on poetry. I don’t exactly know why, it simply didn’t appeal to me.
Perhaps it is because poetry is so much less accessible than simple prose, perhaps it is because you can find poetic writing within prose, or perhaps it is because poetry requires much more from the reader. Whatever the reason, poetry is less popular than prose. And it is such a shame because poetry is so clever; each word handcrafted to fulfil multiple purposes within the text, each piece of punctuation inserted to symbolise what hasn’t been accounted for in words. The imagery created through poetry can be much more profound than that created through prose, and there is so much more left open to interpretation, there is so much to discuss.
Having said all this, it is only recently that I have turned back to reading poetry again. It is not something I do everyday, but I own a beautiful hardback edition of Penguin’s ‘Poems for Life’, and I have begun to turn it’s pages every so often. Amongst all the other great pieces of work, I found an old favourite. Since the first time I read this poem it has been my favourite. It is extremely accessible and laced in truth, I hope that you enjoy it as much as I do:
“The Road Not Taken” – Robert Frost
Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;
Then took the other, as just fair,
And perhaps having the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that passing there
Had worn them really about the same,
And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how many way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I –
I took the one less travelled by,
And that has made all the difference.