I came across this interesting article from the Spectator:
This was seven months into my career as a poetry performer. During that time I’d memorised 150 poems and taken them to the streets. I recited to young and old, black and white, male and female, in East Anglia and London. Rejection is my most common experience. ‘Do you have a favourite poem?’ I ask and most often all this elicits is a ‘Sorry’ or ‘You’re asking the wrong person, mate.’ I’ve had a few more menacing responses but I’m yet to be assaulted.
Somehow, though, provided I don’t forget my lines, I earn money. My rate works out at around £12 an hour — considerably more than the minimum wage. When I’m successful, my performances are appreciated like a magic trick. People are shocked and gratified if I can recite the poem they name. I can now do all the most popular ones: Kipling’s ‘If —’, Auden’s ‘Funeral Blues’ (‘Stop all the clocks…’), Larkin’s ‘This Be The Verse’, Owen’s ‘Dulce et Decorum Est’, Wordsworth’s ‘Daffodils’, Poe’s ‘The Raven’, Frost’s ‘Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening’. I built this list up slowly over months of practice simply by asking. If three people mentioned the same poem on three separate occasions, I learnt it.
So, Cellarostians, do you have a favorite poem? What is the Cellar-Door poetical canon?