Wednesday, December 03, 2008

'I am very bothered'

Today we resume term after our weekend Exodus break; exams finished on Saturday. We have a very busy period now pre-Christmas, and will be posting plenty of work here over the coming two weeks.

This week's Poem of the Week (our 40th) is our third by Simon Armitage, from his sequence 'Book of Matches', the title-less 'I am very bothered when I think' (here). It features in Cliff Yates's fine book Jumpstart: poetry in the secondary school (1999), as 'a contemporary sonnet that take liberties with the form', and shows 'how the sonnet can be made to accommodate the everyday and the mundane. The co-existence of the two registers in the poem reflects the confusion of the narrator which results in his disastrous attempt to attract the attention of the girl he admires.' He then suggests this as a starting-point ('jumpstart') for pupils writing their own poems, 'I am very bothered when I think ...' or using sentences from novels, such as his own favourite, Raymond Chandler's The Big Sleep.

Cliff Yates, a highly successful teacher of poetry for his pupils, recently featured in the Guardian here. You can see an example of his classes (on William Carlos Williams's 'This is Just to Say' our own Poem of the Week in September 2007), from Jumpstart, on the Poetry Class website here.

Below, Armitage reads from Gig, a prose memoir:-

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