Friday, January 21, 2005

Thinking about poetry, story-songs and moving words

I was looking through the poetry collection of Cloud and myself the other evening - something I don't often get time to do. It got me thinking about how I choose some of my favourite songs (I love a good story / narrative) and also about the poetry that I love.

Amongst the 'story' songs I have known and loved:

* Squeeze - Labelled with Love

* Squeeze - Up the Junction

* Elvis Costello - Indoor Fireworks

* Pulp - Common People

* Avril Lavigne - Sk8r Boi

* The Pogues and Kirsty Macoll - Fairytale of New York

* Cole Porter - Miss Otis Regrets

* Billy Bragg - World Turned Upside Down

I then started thinking about some of my favourite poems, tracking similar themes and concerns: love, loneliness, political circumstances, social issues

* Auden - To the Unknown Citizen

* E B Browning - Sonnets from the Portuguese

* Eleanor Brown - 50 Sonnets

* Sagittarius (Olga Katzin) - Nerves [2 Sept. 1939]

* Shelley - Song to the Men of England

* Whitman - Leaves of Grass

* Smith - Not Waving, But Drowning

* Cavafy - Ithaca

Cloud often teases me for the way that I can cry when moved by films etc, and the same goes for songs (note though that the South African National Anthem frequently has us both in tears: when the first post-Apartheid flgas rose and voting took place... a shiver runs through me just thinking about it). But I hadn't really thought how similar my tastes were across the genres of film, music and literature. What often moves me most, stays with me, are moments of passion and sentiment (not necessarily sentimentality). In fact 'passion' remains one of my watchwords for quality - it is certainly one of the chief characteristics I look for in the actors and actresses that I like best. So, it would seem, it also applies to other aspects of my taste.

Sometimes it can be hard to take a step back and realise the links are there - but they often are.

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