“Something I find really moving is the timelessness of our struggles. Herbert probably wouldn’t have been diagnosed with a depressive illness, but we now know that he had terrible battles and internal struggles. To me this poem describes that perfectly. There’s something very powerful about holding hands across the centuries.“Rachel Kelly
Rachel Kelly is a journalist and writer with a long standing interest in mental health. She worked at The Times for ten years as a reporter, feature writer and columnist, and then went on to create an acclaimed educational poetry app and accompanying anthology with Allie Esiri. Her most recent book ‘Black Rainbow’ (2014) describes how poetry helped her overcome depression.
The covenant of RMSYL has always been that of Mo going to the Mountain. Mo to the Mou, if you like. If you get in touch, and invite me round for a cuppa, as long as you don’t live in Timbuktu, I’ll be there (with a packet of biscuits). But it’s also pretty darn special when the Mou comes to Mo. In this case, the Mou not only came to Mo, he came all the way from Wo. Wolverhampton that is. Well, pretty much so. The mountain didn’t of course come down from Wo just for Mo, he also came for Mu and Dü, and ended up listening to a recording of some Dub. But that’s a tale for the next podcast. Regardless of where the Mou came from, it was a pleasure hanging out in his mountainous heights, depths, and Black Country vowels. I’m hoping to tempt him down again with a verse-reciting gig in a neo-Gothic chapel for National Poetry Day, where he might wrap those multi-syllabizing, Wulfrunian vocal cords around 60 sonnety lines of Derek Mahon’s ‘Disused Shed in Co. Wexford’ (Mou has been memorising Ma and writing about this the last couple of weeks – a very good read that is too).
“Although this is specifically a poem that speaks about poetry and the powers of poetry, it also speaks to me about the powers of the imagination. And that’s something I prize in life enormously. What books bring to me is the possibility of not only imagining fictional worlds, but the possibility of imagining what it might be like for someone else, the possibility of empathy.”
Laura Barber is the editor of four popular poetry anthologies – including the hugely successful Penguin’s Poems for Life – and former ‘Poetry Doctor’ at The School of Life. She is also Editorial Director at Granta Books where her interests range from literary fiction to memoir, reportage, travel, narrative history and nature writing,
“Death is something that has come to bite me quite a lot. As so often happens, people turn to poetry in times of grief and need, and therefore my connection to poetry has often been dealing with both loneliness and grieving. That’s perhaps what attracts me to this poem. It seems to say a lot about how I feel about the world and what I have to contend with myself.” William Sieghart
William Sieghart is founder and Chairman of Forward Thinking, a London-based NGO founded in 2003. FT works with the leadership of all parties on both sides of the divide in the Israel/Palestine conflict. He is also the founder of the Forward Poetry Prize, Britain’s largest prizes for poetry and National Poetry Day.
"The title says it all. Read Me Something You Love invites literary lovers to select a piece of writing which excites them. Steve Wasserman, then trundles around to your home with his mobile recording studio in an attempt to translate the pleasure of the reading aloud experience to a wider audience.
“One of the joys of doing this is being open to the experience of how other people’s enthusiasms will wing their way into your life and get you all gee’d up about stories or poems you might never have glanced at twice,” says Wasserman.
Anyone can take part, just email your suggestions to Steve. The only real requirement is that your selection has proved spine-tingling to you in some way. Readings are limited to 20-25 minutes, so a short story, a well-chosen extract or a poem are perfect.
Time to start practicing in the mirror methinks."
"I don’t know about you, but seeing someone read a book on the Tube often gives me a warm, fuzzy feeling knowing that this potentially wasted part of the day is enriched by a good book. The rarity of book lovers gracing the seats of the Underground these days makes me feel both sad and like I’m in a secret club that is only acknowledged by a sideways glance at the books of fellow commuters.
So on discovering the Human Reading Being blog, part of the Read Me Something You Love project, I was terrified that I’d spot a terrible picture of myself reading something embarrassing and then overjoyed that this humble daily habit is being celebrated.
Read Me Something You Love involves Steve Wasserman asking authors and non-authors alike, to read a piece of literature they love before leading a discussion on the piece. If you love submerging yourself in the imagination of others, come and celebrate this dying pastime."