Friday, 30 April 2010

Ejecta Membra

Poet defeats Prelate at Beards: Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williamson came a modest second to ArchPoet Geoffrey Hill at a recent Game of Beards at Keble College.


While Martin Dolan has supplied this wonderful link:

which truly made my teatime.


Etruscan carts had metal-rimmed wheels four foot and eight and a half inches apart.


 I was asked whether I had watched last night's (the third and final) televised election debate and about the use of 'nowt', subjects that seem intimately if subterraneanly related:

I was too busy bathing my feet after a visit to Eastwood to attend to the debates. In case that first sentence causes puzzlement, not that would ever be my intent, no, I haven't joined a strange cult which indulges in rites of pedicure after entering the shrine (of D.H.Lawrence) but rather I was suffering from the after effects of following around the winding pilgrim trails of the nearby and vast Ikea store where someone was in search of curtain rings.
I was, though, able to get a copy of a volume containing Lawrence's short story 'Delilah and Mr Bircumshaw', which I haven't set eyes on in almost 40 years, from Eastwood's Public  Library. I like visiting those old colliery villages round there : people's eyes light up when they hear my surname, as with the librarian today: 'I used to know an old gentleman with that name'.
People in much of the North Midlands used to say variants of 'nowt' too, 'naht' and the like. Although a relic, it still happens sometimes in speech, language being a haunted house par excellence. And, despite the dull accounts of linguists, people, being actors, instinctive mimics like most primates, will use inflections other than their own.

Sunday, 25 April 2010

A Modeft Propofal

I consider it would be a fine thing, a truly experimental and innovative thing, if there were a moratorium on the publication of new poetry for, say, five years. Or even just twelve months for a test run. By publication I mean anything in print, the internet OR read in public. The question of private circulation would require some careful deliberation and refinement of definition: there are always going to be those who have compulsions to share their latest with their cat, or house-plants, or mother. Although this would probably have to be a voluntary arrangement it would be exciting if official support could be won and transgression of the discipline of silence could incur a suitable sanction, such as enforced indexing of European Community Food Policy Directives or public dismemberment joint by joint in an art exhibition (while being maintained alive for the longest possible period to endure the even more excruciating pain of the other installations).

The benefits of this temporary trappisme of poetry would be immense: all those counterfeit versifiers who exist solely to torture their audiences through the amplification system of egotism would evanesce and vanish quite, absolutely and utterly, imagine the global deflation of wind-bags that would ensue, we could probably supply the energy needs of the Third World with the hot air saved, while, as there would be no strictures against re-publication, we would have ample opportunity to assemble retrospectives and collected works, reputations could be thoughtfully and fastidiously interrogated, perhaps people would begin to remember how to read, other than if scanning a newspaper, and most of all there would be restoration of poets to what should be their true proving ground: the blank solitude of the page.