I am heavily biased towards poems that I have actually studied...
In year eleven, I was introduced to T.S. Eliot by Mrs Elston - his poems Preludes and the ironic Portrait of a Lady were excellent snapshots of the insecurities of western society.
Later, in Year 12, we studied Robert Gray, of which my favourite is Flames and Dangling Wire; and Coleridge, (whose extreme Romantic rapture I could sympathise with)... I memorised Kubla Khan and can still recite it. Another poet I could really relate to at school was Seamus Heaney, whose poem Mid Term Break is heartbreaking, and so easy to relate to.
At Uni, the best poets I studied were William Blake, particularly the amazing paradoxical Songs of Innocence and Experience (I also admire his politics). I also really enjoyed W.H. Auden, Ted Hughes and Judith Wright. Other poems we studied include Alan Ginsberg's Howl, and Margaret Atwood's You Begin. I am still fascinated by the 1960's, and Howl is a crazy window into that world.
Also, their track, 77% is really defiant (and controversial). I also like TZU from Melbourne, MC Trey, and Jurassic five.
My favourite Ani diFranco songs include Roll with it, about a woman who fulfils her patriotic duty to support her soldier boyfriend (I especially like the verse "The mainstream
is polluted with lies"); On Every Corner, which is a really moving song about AIDS; Gratitude, which is a story about rape and sexist assumptions;
Spoken Word pieces: Not so Soft, which is an experience of the city that I have also felt- in my ficus urbanae poem, and my rts call to action. Also, Self-Evident, which is the famous one about 9-11, that got people yelling at her at the Sydney Bob Dylan concert (apparently Ani ended
up in tears backstage). I went with my parents- which was funny- a lot of people seemed to do that on that night, because
of the cross-generational performers. Also another spoken word I like is Grand Canyon, which really affirms the heritage and the possibility of social change.
One of my favourite CD compilations is Adbusters' Live Without Dead Time, mainly for the incredibly defiant and inspiring lyrics.
I particularly like the spoken word track by Saul Williams, Give Blood. Saul Williams is amazing. (I recently saw him perform and speak in Montreal). He fills his lyrics with both political defiance
and vision, and allusions to ancient religious texts, especially Eastern religions/Taoism and Christianity. The track mentioned
above just cuts to the heart of why I refuse to surrender ownership of my spiritual heritage, Christianity, to posers like
George Bush and all the rest of them. Saul Williams is involved in Def Poetry Jam which is an entire community of hiphop, spoken word street poets in the US.
In terms of Hip Hop, The Herd is awesome. When I hear their track Starship Trooper by Ozi Batla, my blood turns to quicksilver. When looking at the link of the lyrics above, scroll down until you get to Ozi's
more accurate lyrics.
Other music that I like:
Singer-Songwriters- Suzanne Vega, Tori Amos, The Waifs, Penelope Swales.
British 80's band "Madness", more recent band Cake.
Classical/ish Composers: Russian Romantics Rachmaninov, Tchaikovsky (esp his Violin Concerto), Shostakovich, French composer
Saint- Saens, Bach, Argentinian composer Piatzolla.
-more recent poetry
Poetry that inspires me