About Me

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Bristol , United Kingdom
I am co-director of the Leaping Word Poetry Consultancy, which provides advice for poets on writing, editing and publishing, as well as qualified counselling support for those exploring personal issues in their work - https://theleapingword.com. My fifth poetry collection, Learning Finity, is now available from Indigo Dreams or directly from me.

Monday, 9 May 2011

30 Day Poetry Challenge - Days 10 to 12

Day 10: A poem from your favourite poet 

How can anyone have a favourite poet? It's like expecting you to choose between your children.  Best hope is to shoehorn a few of them into the thirty days.

'Earthed' is one of my favourite poems by one of my favourite poets, the late U A Fanthorpe, and here beautifully read by her also.  
I was lucky enough to see/hear the best Poet Laureate we never  had and her partner, Dr Rosie Bailey, do a lunchtime reading together and it was blissful.

Day 11: A poem you don't understand a word of

'God Full of Mercy' by Yehuda Amichai

I don't understand a word of this in Hebrew.  At first I didn't understand all of it in English either.  It's a riddle, after all.  But as with any poem that has integrity, with each reading it revealed more of itself.  And that's the thing - you don't have to analyse every word in a poem.  Just give it time and the benefit of the doubt.  

Day 12: A poem that's a guilty pleasure  

What's a guilty pleasure when it comes to poetry? Being a closet Pan Ayres fan? Or having a predilection for sumptuously voluptuous verse? This poem is short, sexy, clever and pleasurable, and I'm guilty of loving it. 

'The Connoisseuse of Slugs' by Sharon Olds


  1. Hi Deborah

    God full of mercy, El male rachamim, is a traditional prayer said for the dead. Amichai twists it around, almost making it a joke. Of course it is a serious poem, with many grim images, but there is a sort of gallows humor at the end. "Know that if not for the God-full-of-mercy There would be mercy in the world, Not just in Him." God is full of mercy, brimming with it so much that there is no mercy in the world at all. We are left to our own devices. This is a very common theme in many Amichai poems.


  2. Thank you so much, Eric - your comment takes my understanding to a new level.

  3. This is the first I've read of Fanthorpe, and I'm already a fan! Same with Amichai, who writes like a wise rabbi of old. Olds I have read before, but not this gem until now. Wow!

  4. I'm glad you're getting something out of this exercise, Larry - I was beginning to think I was shouting into a vacuum!