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Showing posts from July, 2004

Sympathy for @l@n P3n3ll

So we have a new monster to fear, ladies and gentlemen. The schoolboy killer has been named, shamed and banged up for the rest of his natural-born. The public can breath easy once more.

Leaving aside the dodgy ethics of jailing a sixteen year old for life we are left with what is, simply put, a plain upsetting news story. A boy, a child, is dead, stabbed by the aforementioned in an argument over a girl. His life is gone, and ain't coming back, and this of course is a terrible terrible thing. His family and friend's lives are forever blighted and it is beholden to us to grieve for him, and for them all.

Alan's life, too, is forfeit however. The story struck a chord with me. The wounds of school are still pretty fresh to be honest, and I remember vividly the desperation and anguish of not feeling as if you fitted in. Regrettably I am not of  a strong enough character to revel in loner status, and I remember my mother's exasperation at my attempts to alter myself, to be…

En-er-vation (woooo-ooh, woooo-ooohoo)

Ever since I got that reading out of the way I have achieved precisely nothing. I am a spent force (okay, I'm aware that that's not actually the case, and this is a perfectly natural hiatus due to the expenditure of a great deal of creative energy in one burst, but you take my point). I haven't even been able to think of anything to blog, and I haven't wanted to read, which are the two main triggers that get me going. So how to occupy my time?

Admin! Oh the smugness of catching up on your personal admin, oh the self-satisfied glow of letter-writing and emailing, oh the sheer heaven of turning up for work early and getting everything done. The only problem being it turns one into a vegetable, fit only to do the most humdrum of tasks. Organised shopping? no problem,  create a meal from said organised shopping? Sorry, my brain's melted. It's been quite enjoyable taking this brief mental holiday, but I'm starting to stir in frustration again. If only there were…

My favourite poem

It seems strange that I write regularly here about poetry but so little about my philosophy of writing. So here's the full test of my all-time favourite poem. Nmaing of parts, by Henry Reed. See, the whole school of war poetry, with its agenda inherent and obvious by the mere factor of its classification is against pretty much everything I stand for in writing, which is lack of fanfare, the hiding of the agenda beneath layers of allusiondivegrence of topic, and understatement, which is truer to the human condition than any amount of tub-thumping, as far as I'm concerned. So here's how a war poem, no, how any poem, should be done.

I. NAMING OF PARTS

(Henry Reed)

To-day we have naming of parts. Yesterday,
We had daily cleaning. And to-morrow morning,
We shall have what to do after firing. But to-day,
To-day we have naming of parts. Japonica
Glistens like coral in all of the neighboring gardens,
And to-day we have naming of parts.

This is the lower sling swivel. And…

Go! Go! Go!

As I may have alluded, the reading went well. In fact it exceeded my wildest expectations. The audience was larger than I expected, and included the heaviest-hitting poetry mag editor in the UK, which is handy. I was good, I think, a little too fast which is a perpetual problem with my readings, but I was way, way better than I'd feared when I was constructing the list for the reading.

When we were in the pub later I heard my tutor from Uni roar "tell him how good he was!", which meant more to me than I can ever tell you (the man has serious props as a poet). So forgive me, all of you, if I take just this one moment to feel pleased with myself for once.

Well done me.

The caveat to this is I had several published and serious types criticising me for not having a book out yet, so as a motivational tool I ask you all to stay resolutely on my back and keep asing me what I've done towards that recently, I need it. Anticipatory thankyous to one and all.

Matt has glasses now

Okay, needed them for years. Left my last pair in the Tudor in wigan one emotion and beer-drenched night a long time ago, and never really had the capital to do it since. But these days...relatively well-off, no longer have to put up with weird fuzzy horizons.

My god it's fucking ACE. I planned the moment I put on my new glasses exactly, I wanted to fully appreciate the epiphanical nature of the moment, so I resisted the blandishments of the optician and waited until I was out in the countryside, the better to pick up details of leaves and what have you. In order to heighten the sense of shock I got magnicently battered beforehand also. Then I put them on, and damn near passed out from the beauty and intricacy of the world.

I fear that I will forget this sense of wonder as time drags on and I get used to my new twenty-twenty sharp-visioned existence. But in the same way that no non-asthmatic fully appreciates the sky-kicking loveliness of breathing freely you normally sighted folk…