What immediately springs to mind dear reader when I mention poetry? I am hoping you are not using the words dull or boring. Such crass language to describe such a pleasurable experience. Truly mind-blowing, trust me. There’s so much more to poetry than you assume, it has run wildly barefoot throughout history. An enchanting sight to behold. Take a risk, dip your toe into the unknown and discover how bewitching it can be. Before long you will be searching for the most dangerous cliff-top to gracefully swan drive off of, gently embracing the hidden depths of the ocean with ease.
Today I have the great honour of kicking off the blog tour for The Point Of Poetry (Published by Unbound 21st March 2019) By Joe Nutt. Thank you Unbound for my copy and for the invitation Anne. I squealed when I received the email about this book. I love poetry, my veins burst with the intensity of the language that has swept me off my feet since our first encounter long, long ago.
About The Author
Joe Nutt’s nineteen years teaching experience in the UK unusually ranged from the highly selective, private sector to challenging, inner city state schools. In 2000, he was seconded to work on a Department for Education project from his English teaching post at the City of London School and quickly established a new, commercial career but continued to write for English Literature students. He has written books on Shakespeare, John Donne and most recently a Guidebook to Paradise Lost arguably the most difficult poem in the English canon, for one of the world’s leading academic publishers. He publishes educational research internationally and is a national, and international conference speaker. He is now one of the leading educationalists in the UK and writes a fortnightly column for the Times Educational Supplement.
The Point Of Poetry
What’s the point of poetry? It’s a question asked in classrooms all over the world, but it rarely receives a satisfactory answer. Which is why so many people, who read all kinds of books, never read poetry after leaving school. Exploring twenty-two works from poets as varied as William Blake, Seamus Heaney, Rita Dove and Hollie McNish, this book makes the case for what poetry has to offer us, what it can tell us about the things that matter in life.
Each poem is discussed with humour and refreshing clarity, using a mixture of anecdote and literary criticism that has been honed over a lifetime of teaching. Poetry can enrich our lives, if we’ll let it. The Point of Poetry is the perfect companion for anyone looking to discover how.
Being a poet myself I was extremely intrigued how Nutt would dissect poetry. Admittedly I was worried he would display its entrails and organs for all to judge and sneer at. Thankfully this was not the case; from the moment I started reading I could feel Nutt’s passion to educate the metrophobes that walk blindfolded through life never understanding the point of poetry.
This book is specifically aimed at people who haven’t discovered the joys and depth of poetry, those that have habitually shrugged it off as irrelevant or archaic. Nutt masterfully reveals what they have been missing by discussing famous poets such as William Blake and John Keats, through to contemporary poets like Hollie McNish and Carol Ann Duffy. It’s a delicious mixture of old and new mingled together to create an intoxicating beverage, drank from a ruby encrusted golden chalice that everyone should sample.
“The Point of Poetry is not as ambitious. It doesn’t set out to change the world. It just seeks to encourage readers reluctant to engage with it that poetry is there to be enjoyed and valued. This is not something pandas, llamas or cuttlefish get to share. Poetry is a uniquely human birthright.”
You see dear reader, many people have this stereotypical view of poetry which usually dates back to their school days, hunched over poems in a stuffy classroom while an unenthused teacher drones on about rhyming couplets. There’s often no passion beyond the words being spoken and no explanation to what the point of all of this actually is. Why should I care? This is where The Point Of Poetry comes into play. How I wish this had been around during my school days for fellow students to see and understand how much poetry can teach us about life.
I very much enjoyed Nutt’s sense of humour and his approach to making poetry accessible to the youth of today. At times I was transported back to my university days, sat in a seminar listening to lecturers come alive like a sparkler as they waltz around the room with poetry. Nutt discusses the poets’ life, his personal experiences with the poems. His passion for poetry is infectious: I found myself smiling and admiring his intellectual view on the poems presented. It is fascinating to read.
Nutt has taken extra care in deciding which poems to present to the reader. A healthy variety of choice and just enough to tempt the reader to indulging, long after they finish reading. He doesn’t fool them into thinking this is a book about analysing poems and skinning them down to the bone. Far from it. Nutt talks about so much more, how poets pack meaning into words, that they are skilful, talented within their craft. No other writer does this the same way as the poet. Poets bring nature to life, they see the finer details that others so easily dismiss. Picture the scene. An escaped orange from a passenger’s carrier bag is transformed into the inevitable acceptance of death, it tumbles down the gangway with reckless abandon before getting abruptly squashed under the busdriver’s boot, an emergency break because a lone deer has stumbled into his path. Poetry is all around, everywhere you look. And wow, is it beautiful.
“Bringing yourself to the poem is an idea worth exploring, because if you read a poem in the same way so many people troop through contemporary art galleries, strolling past installations and paintings in a kind of semi-conscious submissiveness, you’ll leave equally empty-headed.”
The thing I really enjoyed about this book is how Nutt encourages the reader to have their own views and opinions on poems. He warns them that there will be poems in the book they may not like but he consciously admits he does not expect the reader to love every single poem presented. He opens the readers eyes to explore why they don’t agree with a poem, why it makes them angry and have such strong negative feelings towards it. To question, dig and explore all avenues.
“Poetry is where the possibilities happen. It is the way humans test what language can do, not just to breaking point, but beyond. Without it we are vulnerable to those who weaponise and wield words for political or personal purposes. It is our only bulwark against barbarity.”
I give The Point Of Poetry By Joe Nutt a Five out of Five paw rating.
I am absolutely in love with this book, besotted. It has pride of place alongside the poets who inspire me on a daily basics. A captivating read that will more than satisfy any curious mind who wishes to discover The Point of Poetry.
Don’t forget to follow the rest of the blog tour, details below.
Hop hop wiggle wiggle.