When you were at school who liked poetry really? I think I hated Shakespeare but it may just have been the way I was taught and how the works were actually presented to me. I do like a lot of Shakespeare though find some a bit over the top.
Around the time of the English Punk Rock explosion in 1977, Bob Dylan look alike (at the time) John Cooper Clarke came to my attention as a punk poet and I liked what I heard. Around this time also we had dub poets emerging as well.
Although these poets usually read their poems unaccompanied like, often on record they were accompanied by music, and when you think about it most songs are poems set to music, but often poems are just spoken with a musical backing.
Again this is a tiny sample and is just how I have been affected by poets whose work I have come to appreciate, and they have been an influence on me actually writing poetry and appreciating the work of others.
Doctor John Cooper Clarke
I've written about my meeting with John Cooper Clarke and you can read about it at the end of this section. I've included the studio version of his greatest poem "Beasley Street" very grim, with some black humour in there.
In the cheap seats where murder breeds
Somebody is out of breath
Sleep is a luxury they don't need
A sneak preview of death
Often his poems are very humourous, he is also a great comedian as well.
You can read all his poetry for free on his site here.
Here he is live with a funny poem:
And here is a little about a meeting with the man.
Murray Lachlan Young
This is an example of accompanied poetry, essentially the words are read, not sung, giving it a comedic gravitas. The thing is when you listen to a song sometimes you can ignore the lyrics but with a poem you have to take notice.
I saw Kate as part of the 6Music Festival at The Sage in Newcastle I love the dynamics of her work and "Don't Fall In" from "Let Them Eat Chaos" is a perfect introduction to her work.
Thank you to Erica Wagner for letting me know that They (Kae Tempest) are now known by that name, but their poetry has always been stunning and always will be.
Linton Kwesi Johnson
Def Poetry Jam presents Linton Kwesi Johnson- "If I was a Top Notch Poet." I was introduced to Johnson listening to John Peel and loved his dub poetry immediately. Ironically he has always been a top-notch poet.
Benjamin Zephaniah reads his poem 'Money' on the hoof in Newcastle city centre (where I now live) , back in 1991. Now even more topical, this poem is from his 1992 Bloodaxe collection CITY PSALMS.
The film is from the Wordworks series of short poem films made by Tyne Tees Television with Bloodaxe Books first shown in May-June 1992 produced by Mark Lavender and directed by Rob Cowley.
Some Unusual Musical Settings Of Conventional Poems
Mundo Jazz - WH Auden’s “Stop All The Clocks”
This is a Vimeo video and not on Youtube so I need to embed it here for you. Mundo Jazz were fronted by my Facebook friend Dan Freeman a comedy writer and playwright, and this take on WH Auden’s solemn piece makes me laugh every time I watch it. I hope you can watch this video in your part of the world because it will make you smile.
Alex Harvey - WH Auden’s “Roman Wall Blues”
Alex Harvey retitled Auden's poem as "Soldier on the Wall" about a Roman soldier being stuck on, probably, Hadrian's Wall, As with all these examples, the words would stand on their own unaccompanied.
The Fall - William Blake’s Jerusalem
Mark E Smith with The Fall takes on William Blake and Hubert Parry's "Jerusalem" live from the 1988 Sadler's Wells Ballet 'I Am Curious, Orange' in London with Michael Clark & Company.
The video is from the classic twenties Russian sci-fi movie 'Aelita'.
This is the tiniest smattering of poets that I love and I may add more in the future. I am also wondering should I add this to the Vocal Beat community, Journal or Poets? I think I will go for poets
Very well written. Keep up the good work!
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