Today, Foyle Young Poets Talulah Quinto and Trinity Robinson offer their top poetry recommendations for right now, and share how they’ve been coping with the change of pace. Check back later this week as we share more reading tips from Foyle Young Poets, and find yesterday’s feature here!
Talulah Quinto: Disappearing Into Another World
‘Ode to a Nightingale’ by John Keats is my go-to poem in any situation, because although it has a dark narrative, it shows how hope can shine through even the darkest times:
My heart aches, and a drowsy numbness pains
My sense, as though of hemlock I had drunk,
Or emptied some dull opiate to the drains
One minute past, and Lethe-wards had sunk:
’Tis not through envy of thy happy lot,
But being too happy in thine happiness,—
That thou, light-winged Dryad of the trees
In some melodious plot
Of beechen green, and shadows numberless,
Singest of summer in full-throated ease.
For a book, I would really recommend American Primitive by Mary Oliver. It was a winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry, and all the poems (like Mary Oliver herself) are deeply connected with nature. All her poems manage to convey the quiet stillness of the wilderness.
Since we were put into quarantine, my life has not changed much as I am home schooled. I call my friends through group video chats online. It’s not the same, but it’s still really nice to see their faces and hear their voices. Writing and reading have really helped, as it feels as though I can disappear into another world. I’m working on a novel and I love developing the characters because they are becoming friends, and I can almost converse with them. I am also taking part in NaPoWriMo, a poetry writing challenge with prompts on The Poetry Society’s Instagram page. I love using prompts, knowing that lots of other people’s poems will be in some way connected to mine. In our current situation, I’ve found that what helps the most is staying busy. Creating your own routine is great, because it helps you stay on task and not fall into bad habits (like one I am often guilty of, going to bed late and sleeping in!). My current routines are getting up early, going to bed early, doing a warm up routine in the morning, and stretching at night to relax my muscles. In between I do my study, write and read. I think quarantine for me is a great time to get things done that I have been putting off until later, like finishing projects, and having to time to start new ones.
Talulah Quinto is a top 15 winner of the Foyle Young Poets of the Year Award. She is an avid writer, using her woodland surroundings as her main inspiration.
Trinity Robinson: Letting Sunlight In
I recently read Erin Hanson’s poem ‘We’re waiting for tomorrow’ and it made me think more about how I can use the time that I am spending at home during the lockdown – in particular, how it’s better to make use of this time than just to sit and wait for it to be over. I also really enjoyed reading the anthology of the winners of the 2019 National Poetry Competition recently. You can read all the winners here and below.
The lockdown has been quite hard mentally as I usually go out often and like to see different people, but I am finding a lot of ways to keep busy. I have been reading and writing a lot of prose rather than poetry. I tend to be more inspired to read and write poetry while I am out and seeing other people and places. I have been writing short stories in between doing college work and that has been really fun for me. Usually, I get distracted too often to write a lot of prose but, because there isn’t a lot to do, I have found more time to write. One way that I like to cope with all the hours in my room is just opening the blinds and letting sunlight in. I have definitely let my schedule slip a lot but I hope that it all gets back to normal soon.
Trinity Robinson is a 17-year-old college student from County Durham. She writes short stories and poetry and has had several of her poems published in anthologies in the past few years. In 2019 she was a top 15 winner of the Foyle Young Poets of the Year Award. She hopes to get more of her writing seen by the community in the coming years.
What have you been reading? Do you have any recommendations? Share them with us in the comments! And find out more about the Foyle Young Poets of the Year Award for 11-17 year olds and start your entry here.