Welcome from Amy D. Unsworth

Language, Literature, Learning & Life.

What moves you?

Today I have been thinking about poems that stay with me after several readings.

Questions that I've asked:

  • Do they move me in some way emotionally? I Love You Sweatheart. Yes, certainly.
  • Do they engage me with their content or story? The Delicate Plummeting Bodies Yes.
  • Do they mean or be? Mean. Even the excerpt from Stien from Tender Buttons "means" something to me, perhaps because we've adopted into our family's cache of language. But I like a story, a little excerpt even, which helps illuminate some aspect of life.

Other thoughts:

  • I need more than surface gloss. I need content and surface, such as sound that is in accord with the meaning. Yes, I know I've talked about this one before, but Owen's poem seems to do this exceptionally well:

    What passing-bells for these who die as cattle? -
    Only the monstruous anger of the guns.
    Only the stuttering rifles' rapid rattle
    Can patter out their hasty orisons.

  • I need poems whose words fit perfectly and perhaps manage to slip in an extra sense which adds another layer to the poem.


'Into many a green valley
Drifts the appalling snow;

I feel as if I'm a demanding reader. I hope that I can remember to demand these things from my own poems.


Dick Jones' Poetry Archive said...

For Owen the provision of those elements that you (& the rest of us, I'm sure) most require from a poem seem to have been managed with enviable ease. If you look at his various drafts, he seldom moves far away from his original version.

Amy Unsworth said...


Hello & thanks for stopping by. I'm only familiar with Owen's final drafts; the ones found in the standard anthologies. I'm currently reading _The Penguin Book of First World War Poetry_ by Jon Silkin alongside _
The Great War and Modern Memory_ by Paul Fussell. I'm always stuck by how seemlessly Owen manages to merge the content and meaning of his poems with the sound. Do you have a recommendation of where to find earlier drafts of the poems? Or a recommendation for a good book that covers Owen's work?

Thanks for your thoughts,