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Poems from Poems-bookcover

By: Jill Saudek

Poems from Poems

Pages: 314 Ratings: 5.0
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These poems are a response to a wide range of well-known poems from across the ages. They are written in the same poetic form as the originals and offer a modern perspective on their central themes. The reader is invited to look up the original – perhaps to re-read a loved poem or to explore unfamiliar ones – and see how far attitudes have changed over time. The environment is a particularly poignant topic, as so many older poets were consoled by its seemingly enduring beauty in troubled times. Another theme is the belief in the afterlife, which was central to many of the earlier poets, and the contrast with our own largely sceptical age. There are also, of course, universal themes such as love, death, change and parting.

The tone aims to echo each original, with satire and humour mixed with more serious and reflective moods.

Jill Saudek was born in Oxford in 1946 and grew up in Marlow. She studied English literature at Newnham College, Cambridge University and became an English and drama teacher in a variety of schools. She retired in 2009 and now lives with her husband, son, daughter-in-law and three grandchildren in South East London. She has enjoyed reading her own stories and verses to all her small relatives but writing serious poetry is a new venture, undertaken during the covid lockdown.

Customer Reviews
2 reviews
2 reviews
  • Laila Simpson

    Jill Saudek's impeccable command of rhyme, rhythm and form have led to her impressive collection of poems based on famous poems of the past. However, these are by no means mere pastiches; Saudek's poems are highly original, personal reflections on modern society and current attitudes. In fact, parts of the collection could be thematically classified as "The Year of the Pandemic". Her take on Betjeman's "Young Executive" and Browning's "Pied Piper of Hamlin" are salient examples of this theme; the latter poem would leave Matt Hancock foaming at the mouth! William Blake's "Songs of Innocence and Experience" will leave the reader very moved at Saudek's indictment of environmental damage.

    Overall, this second collection of poems from Jill Saudek is perhaps even better than her "Poems from Paintings", her first published collection.

    Laila Simpson (M. Phil University of Sussex)

  • Janet Eastwood

    I am really enjoying this book. There are all kinds of ways to approach it, but I imagine many readers will do what I did first - ie. read Jill Saudek's new versions of already familiar poems. Quite a number that I happened upon were written during or inspired by the 2020 lockdowns: she uses John Keats' "Ode to Autumn", for example, as a kind of template for expressing various emotions during the Spring of that year. Keats' Nightingale leads to a lovely commentary on the song of the Blackbird and to thoughts about all the illness and death that seemed so close to us all during the days of the pandemic. It is good too to be led to revisit old favorites by Auden, Blake, Browning, Donne, Herbert, Shakespeare, and many others.
    I had never read much of Philip Larkin before coming to Saudek's book, so in this case, the reverse process happened to me. First I was both touched and amused by the 2020 versions of poems such as "Church Going 1954" and "Going Going 1954". The "memories of being an English teacher" in Saudek's response to Larkin's "Toads" struck a special chord with me, since I have (mostly fond) memories of my life as a music teacher! These inspired me to read the originals - and indeed to buy a volume of Philip Larkin poems.
    Do read the book for yourself: you will find your own favorites!

    Janet Eastwood MA (Oxon), ARCM.

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