Unlike some writers I know, I’ve managed to pretty well keep every poem I’ve ever complete since I started at 10 or 11 and like to look back at some of the pieces at that stage even though I know at that stage my work was at best limited.
I can remember cheerful pieces I wrote about ‘Death’ when I was 16 and a miserable, unhappy Goth and pieces like My Bloody Valentine which the title almost certainly came from the now legendary noise band, the piece was about a violent murder (Probably aimed at a Ex girlfriend) – my pieces were literally all over the place sometimes but had the energy which is still with me today.
Times change of course, and I’ve got a lot older (now looking over my shoulder at 40 which amazes me) and as I keep performing, often I see younger poets come to the forefront and it never ceases to amaze how much better writers they are than I was back then.
One young poet who has really impressed me firstly at a reading I did alongside her at Bury Market and then as part of the Tyldesley festival recently who I believe is only 17 is Charlotte Henson who with another young poet, Ghazal Choudhary has recently bought out a booklet through lulu.com called ‘Straythoughts from the Poetically Minded’.
Reading some of Charlotte’s work for example ‘Something or nothing’ is amazing for a poet of any age where she proclaims:
‘And then the light wents out
And the fans.
And the computers.
And our minds and crumbled back from binary –
Just a mass of noughts and ones on the floor’
This small segment has impressed me by the sudden build up of language of somebody’s life to a mass of noughts and ones on the floor and is simply breath-taking no matter what age she is.
Charlotte describes herself on the book’s website - http://straythoughts.webs.com/ as influenced by Carol Ann Duffy and Henry Normal. My disliking of Carol Ann Duffy’s work on the whole is best not dwelled, but certainly Henry Normal’s poetry surprised me as his work for like ‘Is love like Science Fiction’ has a use of language that in places in close to Charlotte’s work like this segment from The Pragmatics of ‘Living for the Moment’ (which itself is a Henry Normal kind of title)
‘I have ravaged towns with all my god-awful love
Ripped up their fences and killed
Whisked away those in Kansas who
Dreamed of emerald cities and yellow brick roads’
Godawful love was the thing that perhaps was the most Henry Normal-ish to me, but the full piece was took further both of the influences by the humble ending
‘All I wanted was to love
I don’t know Ghazal Choudhary but reading the website it says they both met in an AS English Language class, and after discovering they both loved poetry decided to collaborate on an anthology.
Ghazal she says is a big fan of romantic literature, and it shows for example on ‘A Riddle’ her second piece in the collection which is probably my personal favourite ‘
‘Wandering around in the twilight
Watching a beautiful sight,
The snow begins to fall, an icy white.
In a sudden movement the storm breaks out,
There are shrieks and there are shouts,
Children in pyjamas and women in their night-gowns, all running about.
What went wrong?’
Although in this piece, the use of the children in pyjamas line
is somewhat too long for my tastes in the context of the piece,
I like the use of the use of the language in the way it is a lot
more cleverer than you may originally think.
Another clever example with’s use of reputation which builds up
a rhythm is ‘For you’ which contains the reputation of
And only you’
Which is a nice contrast to the stanzas and gives it a almost
song like quality in places, which like Charlotte’s suggest there
are two much older writers here than what you may believe.
Recommended. (and before you ask I am not going to blog my early poetry from those days – lol)