woensdag, februari 18, 2004

Scottish Poetry Breaks Free From The Tyranny of English Poetry

The first volley was fired by Scotland when Edwin Morgan was appointed the Scots makar (poet) by the first minister, Jack McConnell, who said the Glasgow-born poet was the obvious choice. In doing so, the Scottish Executive broke with 336 years of tradition. Edwin Morgan is already Glasgow's poet laureate and is Emeritus Professor of English at Glasgow University and an honorary professor at the University College of Wales.

This leaves current "English" Poet Laureate Andrew Motion to sit all alone in his poet laureate fifedom with his ?5,000 and 150 bottles of Sherry as his Poet Laureate prize and weep syrupy tears of regret at having his power and title undermined by yet another bloody Scotsman. Motion tried to keep his quivering lips in the formation of a stiff upper lip, pretending to welcome the appointment by sniveling:

"I can't stop it happening," he said. "But I feel totally relaxed about it because there's only one Poet Laureate appointed by the Queen."

Appointed by The Queen??!!! Is the poet laureate of England really hiding underneath the skirts of the Queen?

I mean c'mon. What the fuck does the QUEEN know about poetry? Stand up like a man, Motion. Fight for your title. Don't hide behind some snotty little title.

The Queen hands out poetry titles to everybody for crissakes. She's given out a bunch of medals to young poets before. Like Alexander Pirrie, 13, from Bideford, Devon, brought commemorative poetry bang up to date with a Royal rap called 'Boogie in the Garden.' It opens with the lines:

"Hey there Queen!
Gonna boogie in the garden.
Boogie so loud
Gonna need a Royal Pardon."

I think it's a fair bet that the fact the Queen hands out your little title for poetry doesn't mean jack --

If Motion were a man of action instead of a little whisker-twitching rodent hiding behind the glorification of an old empty-headed poetry vessel like the Queen passing out poetry medals to every young punk who passes through her gates, he might have pointed out that the new Poet Laureate of Scotland is a crap poet. He might have dug through Edwin Morgan's previous volumes and found something like Absence which makes you realise that Edwin Morgan is a crap poet and if HE is the Poet Laureate of Scotland than Scotland must have run out of bloody poets:

My shadow --
I woke to a wind swirling the curtains light and dark
and the birds twittering on the roofs, I lay cold
in the early light in my room high over London.
What fear was it that made the wind sound like a fire
so that I got up and looked out half-asleep
at the calm rows of street-lights fading far below?
Without fire
Only the wind blew.
But in the dream I woke from, you
came running through the traffic, tugging me, clinging
to my elbow, your eyes spoke
what I could not grasp --
Nothing, if you were here!

The wind of the early quiet
merges slowly now with a thousand rolling wheels.
The lights are out, the air is loud.
It is an ordinary January day.
My shadow, do you hear the streets?
Are you at my heels? Are you here?
And I throw back the sheets.

Now, they say Edwin Morgan's poetry is irrepressibly experimental in imagery, subject matter, form and language but if Motion were a Man, he'd have pointed out these fakeries, these blind stabs at poetry and experimentation and would have challenged him to a duel like Thomas Moore once did to a critic. Thomas Moore was a man's poet, not some squeaky little bookworm hiding beneath his Queen's skirt:

Thomas Moore wrote poetry like The Time I've Lost:

The Time I've Lost

The time I've lost in wooing,
In watching and pursuing
The light that lies
In woman's eyes,
Has been my heart's undoing.
Tho' Wisdom oft has sought me,
I scorn'd the lore she brought me,
My only books
Were women's looks,
And folly's all they taught me.

Her smile when Beauty granted,
I hung with gaze enchanted,
Like him the Sprite
Whom maids by night
Oft meet in glen that's haunted.
Like him, too, Beauty won me;
But when the spell was on me,
If once their ray
Was turn'd away,
O! winds could not outrun me.

And are those follies going?
And is my proud heart growing
Too cold or wise
For brillant eyes
Again to set it glowing?
No -- vain, alas! th' endeavour
From bonds so sweet to sever:
Poor Wisdom's chance
Against a glance
Is now as weak as ever.

---the only conclusion one can draw from Motion's cowardly response is that he is afraid his own poetry might come under scrutiny. Or perhaps that he's a rich little poetry snob who thinks having the Queen name him Poet Laureate is a meaningful defense of himself and the five story imposing Victorian terrace house in North London he lives in.

And then has the nerve to write shite like Causa Belli with tosspot and rubbish bin lines like:

They read good books, and quote, but never learn
a language other than the scream of rocket-burn
Our straighter talk is drowned but ironclad;
elections, money, empire, oil and Dad.

Right. Poet Laureate indeed. Their poetry is as inciteful as a jar of marmite so maybe they should fight for their titles like American Presidential candidates fight for their campaigns:

With Big Bucks and No Talent and a big, fat smear campaign.


Meanwhile, if you're looking for some REAL entertainment, there are plenty of Friendlies being played tonight. Of note:

English hooligans versus Portugese police and The Dutch versus the Americans who will be without the services of the US Military and President Jesus Bush this time around.


Portugal 3 England 1
Holland 2 US 1

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