Ashes Poetry - cricket

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David Fine, Ashes poet in residence in Australia 2006-7

England vs Australia.
Brisbane, Adelaide, Perth, Melbourne, Sydney 2006-2007

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Thursday, December 14, 2006

Poetry -writing & reading

Poetry is just about the most environmentally positive art-form around, especially when viewed on the internet or listened to on the radio. It's also one of the oldest. No one quite knows how human communication developed, but as a prehistorian I'd put my money on song and dance - it's memorable and effective, and the idea that Singing in The Rain goes back to neanderthal times has a certain zing to it.

Poetry comes from song. If there isn't a lyrical quality, something of a voice when you read a poem as text, then there is something seriously missing. Without that voice, however fine, noble, witty and otherwise cultured the words, to my mind it isn't poetry, and you might as well

the line

and treat as prose, good or bad, but not poetry.

Rhymes, rhythm, alliteration (all an a or otherwise o-s, likewise lots of linked up letters by sound) assonance (internal rhymes happen all the time) .... all these poetical tools can help the writer and reader share the poem's song.

The simplest way to appreciate a poem to its fullest extent is to read it out aloud. You'll soon find its voice, or discover it hasn't one. This is why traditional poetry rhymes or is alliterative (Beowulf and other scandinavian stuff) It comes from an oral tradition, so how else do you remember something which isn't written down?

I'm a greedy sort of poet. I'll use any sort of device or form which will help get what I want to say in my head across to you as a voice inside yours - sonnets, rhymes, hexameter, pentameters, rhymes, half-rhymes, metaphors, allusions, similes - like a batsman or bowler with all sorts of strokes or balls for differing occasions, you don't have to use them all at once. Indeed their greatest effect is by surprise, or building up.

By inclination I write free verse - no fixed rhythmic pattern and/or rhyming scheme. Robert Frost, the great Americn poet, and perhaps their most elegant, said 'Writing free verse is like playing tennis without a net.' True, but to use free verse well you still need to attend to rhythm and rhymes to give that voice, that sense of arrested by song, which means it's actually harder to do than using a standard form - to use Frost's simile, you need to erect your own net by the shots you play.

On this gig - a poem a day, and I'm off now to the WACA for the first day of the third test, ready to chronicle England's great fightback (ho, ho)

Here's my notes of what's to follow on, (as in Australia, after Freddie wins the toss - more ho, ho)

Aussie more traditional. Both sounds and meaning., Patterson vs the Queen.

Traditional forms
Paul Cameraman
Peter Parry