Friday, 6 February 2015

Signature poems

One of my best friends has long championed the need for all poets to have signature poems: strong, identifying pieces that act as hooks for readers. Singles on an album might be a decent analogy. For example, two or three poems immediately jump into my mind when certain poets are mentioned, just as specific songs are the advance party for singers.

In this respect, I was drawn to one of The Guardian's Poems of the Week in January. It was Rory Waterman's "Access Visit", taken from his exceptional first collection, Tonight the Summer's Over (Carcanet, 2014). You can read it here, together with Carol Rumens' analysis. When discussing "Access Visit", she encounters many of the qualities that can also be found elsewhere in Waterman's work, all brought together in one of his signature poems.


  1. Mine used to be "Misreading the Signs" until I realised it was self-parody.

    1. It's always a danger, especially for certain poets who've had one very successful book and then try to replicate that.

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