If I were to summarise why I normally enjoy reading, I would say that I like a little slice of escapism from harsh reality. Granted this is true more of fiction than poetry, and when I feel the need to immerse myself in fanciful verse, I tend to read poets such as Wordsworth or Coleridge.
When reading contemporary poetry, it has to be blunt. It has to be honest. It has to ring true. If my mind begins to drift then the poem has nothing to say. What’s the point in that? If I want to read a bunch of tantalising words, I’ll read the label of my shampoo.
Mistress Quickly’s Bed Issue 6 has a few goodies that not only kept me focused on the page, but got me thinking.
‘Gifts’ and ‘Antisemitism’ by poet Francis Combes were both short but hard hitting, looking at the impact of war on children – though upon turning the page I realised they were translated by Alan Dent. Do the words have the same impact in their original language? Something to always bear in mind with translated verse.
Another poem I enjoyed was ‘Mundane’ by Brian Docherty, which started out as the title describes, but gathered momentum, ending the third and final stanza with dramatic imagery: ‘I’ve been to more funerals than weddings/ am starting to hear the coyotes singing/ Me and the mountain are getting closer/ Local skateboarders are already saying/ look out for that little old man.’ What a way to go! The tombstone would show undignified death by skateboard in all its glory, while the coyotes would have had their fill and the mountain would outlive all to give birth to all the other tombstones in an endless mundane cycle. Bravo!💀