Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Blue snow

The National Poetry Archive was launched today. It includes clips of poets reading their own work, although only a minority are available for free, the rest have to be purchased. It only covers poems in English. The Archive seems to have a lot of potential but there is not too much there to get excited about yet. It contains a few landscape poems, such as Sean O’Brien’s Essay on Snow (2002), a sad meditation on a snow-covered city.

Postscript 2015: A very short post there and I see that you now have to pay 89p to hear the whole poem, although of course you can find it online: '...Untrodden parks and freezing underpasses. / The statuary anonymous, the cobbled chares / Like streams of blackened ice...'  (Chares are narrow streets). 

In 2009 The Guardian did a piece on Sean O'Brien which begins with a description of the landscape that inspired him:
'When Sean O'Brien talks about the north, he tells it like a story. His language, as he describes it, is tranquillised, rhapsodic; his voice drops; his sentences loop and lengthen. "I grew up in a northern city," he says, "and the landscape fascinates me: the flat, Saxon plains of east Yorkshire, the spectacular hills of the north and west, the uncompromising industrial cities - they form a complex identity. And they all touch on the Humber - the great, epic, Mississippianly wide river Humber - which runs past the doorstep like a continental division and moves out vastly into the sea. When we were kids, we used to think we could see palm trees on the other side."'

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