Salman Rushdie, keen proponent of the lost art of learning poetry by rote, would have loved my school.
It was an all-girls Catholic school and the ability to memorise texts by heart was a big plus among the nuns there. Once you could quote vast swathes of St Mark’s gospel verbatim, then poems, in comparison, were a doddle.
Robert Frost was a towering figure in our English classes, along with Shakespeare and Jane Austen. I’ll probably still be able to recall his poems – The Road not Taken, The Witch of Coos, Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening – years from now when I’m struggling to remember what I just ate for lunch.
Mending Wall, another Frost poem, gave rise to my short story Good Fences published this week in The Nottingham Review. Taken from Frost’s wry observation that ‘Good fences make good neighbours,’ my story starts with the 2011 London riots (more or less) and ends with a woman losing her marbles in a Somerset village.
The Nottingham Review is a fairly new literary journal, which publishes short stories and poetry four times a year. Back issues include work by Catherine McNamara, Carrie Etter, KM Elkes, Jonathan Pinnock, and others, that you can read online or download to Kindle.
“He is all pine and I am apple orchard.”