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The Wednesday Poetry Corner With John Anstie

I am delighted to finally welcome John Anstie to the Wednesday corner. I have been wanting to post John’s fine piece for months now, but like many things we want to do in life, lists intervene. Anyhow, I know you will enjoy John. Not only os he a very fine poet, he is a fine writer of prose also. He is precise and studied and has produced and been involved in some very fine poetry anthologies. Great to have you here, John.

By John Anstie

When Niamh asked me who is my favourite poet or poem, I found this question impossible to answer. I can only nominate any that I have read, thus far; so the answer may change in time. William Shakespeare should be one, because of his huge influence on the English language and he championed one of my favoured forms of scansion, iambic pentameter; that he wrote whole stories using this, still astonishes me. For the same reason, John Updike, in his “Endpoint” impressed me. It could equally be Ella Wheeler-Wilcox, who wrote some of the most passionate and compassionate poetry, as well as some memorable lines … “Laugh, and the world laughs with you; Weep, and you weep alone” ..from the poem “Solitude” by Ella Wheeler-Wilcox .Ella wheeler wilcox

My favourite contemporary poet, however, is a man, who is as good to hear live, performing his own poetry, as he is to read. Who could think of writing a poem about something as trivial as kicking a mushroom, that is also rather poignant; or a poem about the discovery of a book of poetry in Poundland, by Ezra Pound, which finds some inspiration from Greek mythological characters, but was also full of witty observation and sometimes laugh out loud funny? No-one I yet know, but the very eloquent Simon Armitage.

Why do I like poetry? For many, many reasons! Poetry is like magic, the kind of magic that children can see, because they believe in dreams. Poems, like children, can open our eyes to be able to see their value. It can be found in book shops, on the internet, written on the back of park benches, carved in stone; it is everywhere. I’ve even seen it hidden within the marketing bunkum written on the back of a sauce bottle, although I doubt that this was intended by the copy writer at the time! It is words concatenated into rhythmic lines, lyrics and verse; it is music with only the voice of thought as its instrument. I’ve enjoyed writing for a long time. In my private and commercial working life, this might have been letters, reports, emails! But it is the fact that poetry is a vehicle for expressing the otherwise inexpressible; it provides the platform to think about and develop life’s deeper and seemingly irresolvable issues, to philosophise and develop solutions that are hidden from those, whose daily survival strategies disable their insight, their honesty and the genuine search for their own truth. Somehow, good poetry has the power to reveal the visions, of which we only get a glimpse in scrambled dreams, in hypnopompic or meditative moments; it is capable of opening hearts, searing souls and moving us to understand the world; it can give us a new perspective on life itself and help us realise that those very human worries and challenges we face are not new, because we can read about these same insights in the poetry of poets who lived centuries ago. I love poetry because it makes me feel like a Time Lord. So be prepared to wait patiently for your voice to be heard!

 

JOHN ANSTIE is a British poet and writer and multi-talented gentleman self-described as a “Family man, Grandfather, Occasional Musician, Amateur photographer and Film-maker, and is a contributing editor to The Bardo Group. petrichor

John has been involved in the recent publication of two anthologies that are the result of online collaborations among two international groups of amateur and professional poets. One of these isThe Grass Roots Poetry Group, for which he produced and edited their anthology, “Petrichor* Rising. The other group is d’Verse Poet Pub, in which John’s poetry also appears The d’Verse Anthology: Voices of Contemporary World Poetry, produced and edited by Frank Watson.

Petrichor – from the Greek pɛtrɨkər, the scent of rain on the dry earth.

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About Dr Niamh

When I was a little girl (a very, very long time ago), I used to love learning new, really big words like ‘discombobulate’. As I grew, my love of words grew too, until I loved them so much, I could not stop writing them down. One day, as I was scribbling a particular word, a very peculiar thing happened. The word shouted at me, “Stop! Don’t put me there!” As you can imagine, I was shocked and nearly fell off my chair. When I recovered somewhat, I said to the word, “Could you stop shouting, please? I am not used to it.” Can you guess what happened next? No! I thought not. The word said, “I might be small, but I will misbehave if you do not use me properly. I will not tell the story you would like me to tell. I will say something entirely different!” I dropped my pen. I hoped that by dropping my pen, the word would stop talking. Alas! It did not. It carried on chitterchobbling, even after the ink had dried. I was in a pickle. I could not allow my words to run away with my story, now could I? I don’t know about you, but when this sort of thing happens, there is only one thing left to do if you prefer not to spend your time arguing. “Very well,” said I. “I will do as you ask if you will just be quiet and allow me to concentrate.” Since that day, I have been paying special attention to every word I invite into my stories. After all, a story should say exactly what it means to say and not be led astray. With love from Dr. Niamh, Ph.D in Learning Through The Imagination and Founder of Dr Niamh Children's Books. www.drniamh.co.uk

21 comments on “The Wednesday Poetry Corner With John Anstie

  1. PoetJanstie
    January 22, 2014

    Thank you, Niamh, for giving me the opportunity to ‘spout’ on one of my favourite hobbies; probably the favourite, if truth be told. I am flattered and grateful that you’ve given me your time and space here at Plum Tree Books.

    P.S. I could become very interested in the subject of ‘Acquiring Wisdom Through The Imagination’, provided I am imagining the correct interpretation of the subject of the studies for your Doctorate. It sounds like it comes close to what I sometimes do. One day we should have a beer and discuss.

    Like

  2. PoetJanstie
    January 22, 2014

    South Yorkshire

    Like

    • ontheplumtree
      January 22, 2014

      A get-together fora pint and a discussion might be difficult then unless you are ever in London!

      Like

  3. PoetJanstie
    January 22, 2014

    P.S. The YouTube video linked to Simon Armitage’s name at the end of the second paragraph, is not only moving, particularly in the war poem and “Out of The Blue”, a poem he wrote about 9/11 (in 2001) but also informative; it is educational … not forgetting that Simon is Professor of Poetry at Sheffield University.

    Like

  4. theparisreviewblog
    January 23, 2014

    I really love this perspective of poetry. It is so true that the magic of poetry really enlightens the soul and the mind. I also love the purpose of this blog post. As someone with a literary blog, I find this so inspiring for fellow writers. Love it!

    Like

    • ontheplumtree
      January 23, 2014

      Many thanks for dropping by courtney and for your enthusiastic comments. I will be sure to pay you a visit also.

      Like

  5. peter wilkin
    January 23, 2014

    Good write, John ~ I have had my suspicions for some time that you may be a Time Lord.

    Like

    • ontheplumtree
      January 23, 2014

      Welcome, Peter! Thank you for dropping by. I am sure that John will be delighted with your comment.

      Like

    • PoetJanstie
      January 25, 2014

      If anyone knows about my Time Lordship, it’s you, Peter. Thanks for looking in.

      Like

  6. Jamie Dedes
    January 24, 2014

    Reblogged this on THE BARDO GROUP and commented:
    Collaborations works! Here’s a fine essay by our own John Anstie hosted by our Niamh Clune on her Plum Tree Books blog … read on ….

    Like

  7. thiskidreviewsbooks
    January 24, 2014

    What a great cover! This is a great post!

    Like

    • ontheplumtree
      January 24, 2014

      Thank you, Erik!

      Like

    • PoetJanstie
      January 25, 2014

      Erik, that you enjoy reading at your age (assuming I’m reading your About page correctly?) is a blessing for your future; that you review books is remarkable. I wish you well and thank you for visiting Plum Tree Books to read my ‘defence of poetry’.

      Like

  8. Raven Spirit
    January 25, 2014

    This was a wonder “spout” on poetry. I will say this; you have spoken my heart perfectly! I really enjoyed this essay John and Niamh. Thank you.

    Like

    • PoetJanstie
      January 28, 2014

      I love a good ‘spout’, Liz 😉 and I’m glad it makes sense to you, because, I guess, sometimes when I ‘spout’ I am inclined to become a tad too introspective and lose sight of what’s actually important. I have no delusions of grandeur here, but I believe that, one day long after we’re gone, Poets shall rule the World, if not in body, in spirit 😄

      Like

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