I once was a pretender poet
To help celebrate the launch of her new verse novel Toppling, I have been blogging over at Sally Murphy’s Writing For Children blog on What Sandy Fussell Likes About Children’s Poetry.
At first I was hesitant – after all, what do I know about poetry. I’m not a poet although I do love to read poetry and verse novels are high on my list.
I love the way words rise and fall in waves. I love the way they roll off my tongue and drop at my feet with a crash or a gentle plink. I love the sound they make. I can recite chunks of Slessor, Frost and Eliot, simply for the sound effects. Dylan Thomas doesn’t make a lot of sense to me but his lines are music to my ears.
When I was 12 I asked for The Complete Works of Shakespeare for my birthday. Not because I was anywhere near clever enough to understand what I was reading but I had plugged in to Shakespeare’s talent with language. He could make the words sing.
And now I have a confession to make. I’m not a poet. But I once was, although not a very good one. I had a poem published in The Canberra Times when I was 20. I scrabbled around and found it today. It’s not as awful as I remember and it doesn’t sing in tune – but it’s still got a little hum going in my head.