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6 poets to stir up some secondary school memories

Today is World Poetry Day, and it’s Leaving Cert Paper 2 all over again.

Seamus Heaney
Seamus Heaney
Image: Paul Faith/PA Archive/Press Association Images

TODAY IS WORLD Poetry Day and according to the UN:

Poetry contributes to creative diversity, by questioning anew our use of words and things

Unless you’re a divil for the poetry in your adult years, most of your exposure came while studying for your Junior and Leaving Cert back in the day.

Whether you devoured every word Emily Dickinson wrote or found Seamus Heaney a bit tedious we’ve all got a school related poet we can’t shake.

Here are some of our favourite poets from our school days.

1. Seamus Heaney

Who doesn’t have time for a bit of Heaney?

He’s one of our best known poets and you’ll recognise more of his work then you realise.

Two of his works jump out for us, the story of his family working on the bog in Digging

poetictouch2012 / YouTube

and the quiet but powerful look at grief in Mid-Term Break:

poetictouch2012 / YouTube

2. Emily Dickinson

Dickinson’s dark pieces were certainly bleak but undoubtedly appealed to countless moody teenagers.

There was the eerie imagery of I Felt A Funeral, in my Brain:

poetryoutloudvideos / YouTube

and the slightly more upbeat tone of Hope is the Thing With Feathers:

mystanzachannel / YouTube

3.  W.B. Yeats

Who could forget the good old Lake Isle of Innisfree?

awetblackbough / YouTube

or his political work like Easter 1916:

SpokenVerse / YouTube

4. Eavan Boland

Of the many Irish poets you may have studied at school, it was hard not to be impressed by the work of Boland.

There’s the powerful romantic imagery of Love and the tackling of Irish history in The Famine Road

joraf991 / YouTube

5.  Patrick Kavanagh

Kavanagh is one of our best-known poets and you can’t deny the gloomy impact of his best work.

Mind you this reading of Inniskeen Road July Evening is a bit melodramatic:

Brendan Ross / YouTube

6. Philip Larkin

If you’re going to learn about classic poets in school at least you get to learn about Philip Larkin’s work.

And This Be The Verse had swearing in it. About your parents. That was always fun.

Although someone has animated Larkin reciting it and it’s a bit creepy:

poetryreincarnations / YouTube

Of course this is just the briefest of selections. Let us know who your favourites where.

Which ones had you scrawling notes into your copy of Soundings?

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