A couple of days ago, inspired by this article by Andrew M. Brown I blogged in part about poems which I remember loving – which made me tingle. So I thought I might share a little more about some of those poems, in the hopes they might speak to you, too.
The first of these poems, then, is This is Just to Say, by William Carlos Williams. You can read it here.
This poem was read in my year 8 English class with Mrs Brickwood. I can even picture where I was sitting in the classroom when we read the poem, and can certainly feel the amazement of discovering that a poem could be so simple, without rhyme, without artifice, and yet so very complete. I loved it. I also loved that one of the things we then did was to try to replicate the form by writing our own ‘This is Just to Say’ poems. I think it was my first experience of writing free verse poetry, a love affair which will never end.
Years later, when I worked on my first verse novel, my character Pearl also loved free verse novel, and in a nod to Williams, I had her mention ‘a poem about a plum’. When the book was published, no one asked me if that was a real poem, or mentioned that they’d made the connection – until the book was made into a play by Jigsaw Theatre in Canberra. When I went to see the play, a highlight for me was seeing the poem revealed as a very clever part of the set.
Long after this first of his poems, it occurred to me to read more of Williams’ work, and I loved it, but This is Just to Say will always be my personal favourite, for the way it opened up the world of poetry to me.