Poetry and Sylvia Plath

derek tatton
30 October 2008

Enclose notes for the Blue Mugge pub discussion next Tue 4 Nov.   Roger Elkin has prepared these notes and will lead/chair the discussion.

A reminder of programme change: on Tue 25th Nov we will be debating and discussing  The Crash, 2008.

Also:      Friday 7th November   10.30 - 3.30pm
The WEA has organised:
Celebrating Tawney in 2008.
The 100th anniversary of Tawney's first University/WEA Tutorial Class in Longton.
The speakers are acknowledge experts on the subject.
Venue:  Potteries Museum and Art Gallery,  Hanley


Open Circle or Odd Group

Tuesday   4th November 08 at The Blue Mugge Pub, Leek

Some Poetry Definitions

1     S.T.Coleridge:         Poetry; the best words in the best order.
2    W.B. Yeats:        Poetry is truth seen with passion.
3.    William Wordsworth:     Poetry is the spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings: it takes its origin from emotion recollected in tranquillity.
4.    T.S. Eliot:        It is neither emotion, nor recollection, nor, without distortion of meaning, tranquillity. It is a concentration, and a new thing resulting from the concentration, of a very great number of experiences… a concentration which does not happen consciously… Poetry is not a turning loose from emotion, but an escape from emotion; it is not the expression of personality, but an escape from personality.

4Which of the above do you agree with?
5Is there anything that you would add to help to define what you think poetry is… and should do?
6What makes a “good” poem?           
7What features make the following poem “good”?


Mushrooms                         Sylvia Plath

Overnight, very
Whitely, discreetly,
Very quietly

Our toes, our noses
Take hold on the loam,
Acquire the air.

Nobody sees us,
Stops us, betrays us;
The small grains make room.

Soft fists insist on
Heaving the needles,
The leafy bedding,

Even the paving.
Our hammers, our rams,
Earless and eyeless,

Perfectly voiceless,
Widen the crannies,
Shoulder through holes. We

Diet on water,
On crumbs of shadow,
Bland-mannered, asking

Little or nothing.
So many of us!
So many of us!

We are shelves, we are
Tables, we are meek,
We are edible,

Nudgers and shovers
In spite of ourselves.
Our kind multiplies:

We shall by morning
Inherit the earth.
Our foot’s in the door.                                       13th November 1959


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