Friday, November 16, 2012

Love, life, etc.

Allardice, Lisa, "A Lesson in Love", p.20, Review Saturday Guardian 03.11.12

After I bemoaned my temporarily slow reading pace in my last post, I decided to remedy the situation, and today I have done little else but read. There are enough unread books in my house to last me well into the new year, but thanks to the Guardian's Review section, my to-read list is ever-growing, and with the allure of the new I can become greedy. I have to remind myself that the unread books I already have are just as new as the ones that are out there in the world waiting. I will resist the temptation to buy new books for now, but I suddenly feel it is absolutely vital for me to read Colette.

I have never read anything by her, but I think I will enjoy Break of Day (her memoir-as-fiction account of spending a summer alone in her house and garden in the middle of her life, turning to the natural world and away from love), which has been reissued by Capuchin Classics. I am still reading Marion Milner, and this appears to be similar territory, if completely different in style - women artists finding themselves seems to be a recurring theme for me. And of course I couldn't help noting that Colette was a crazy cat lady - another recurring theme and something I aspire to...

In the meantime, I am going back to poetry. I don't tend to re-read novels, unless they are favourites, but the great thing about books of poetry is that they get re-read - and thus energised - a lot (I do subscribe to the Feng Shui view that books that just sit on a shelf untouched become dead energy).

Sylvia Plath was one of my first loves. Faber and Faber has just published a collection of her poems chosen by Carol Ann Duffy, and in her article for the Guardian she emphasises that, although influenced by confessional poetry, for Plath "craft was as important as the exploration of self", that her poems move beyond the life they draw from and take on a life themselves. Duffy also reminds us that despite the often dark themes, there is a playfulness to Plath's work, which displays her "great appetite for the sensuous experience" and her interest and delight in the shaping of the poem. 

"Poets are ultimately celebrators, of life and poetry itself. A vocational poet like Plath gives life back to us in glittering language - life with great suffering, yes, but also with with melons, spinach, figs, children and countryside, moles, bees, snakes, tulips, kitchens and friendships." (Duffy, Carol Ann, "Permission Not To Be Nice", p. 14, Review Saturday Guardian, 03.11.12)


Speaking of poetry, I love this from William Carlos Williams's Paterson, posted by Leo Babauta on Zen Habits today.


  1. I love to read poetry for this very reason! That quotation is lovely. Tolle's books are excellent for leafing through at random, as well. I think I've said this before, but I love your writing! It inspires me.

    Thinking of you and hoping that all is going very well. xx

    1. Thanks for your kind words, Holly. Yes, Tolle's books are definitely for re-reading and dipping into. Hope you are well xx

    2. P.S. I checked out that awesome post on Zen Habits too. So perfect. Thank you!