Archive | October, 2013

Poetry weekend

27 Oct

While I was still a student, we had a memorable session down at the pub called Poems and Pints, where, after a swift pint or seven, we all read poems we had prepared for the event. This was all done inĀ  the spirit of fun and getting rather drunk.

It might even have produced a poem or seven, but I have saved only one of my scribblings from that evening, and that particular poem has the nostalgia of the escapism which I relentlessly pursued in my armchair during the eighties, the yearning to leave the shores of Britain for somewhere new. In those days I was equally likely to write stupendous nonsense as anything that could truly be called meaningful. What the hell, for example, was I on about when I said: ‘the tennis racket hurling the net/ the girlfriend stuck in a jet’ ?

No, this is not a paean to travel. I am reminded of that same poem while I work on my latest effort in that rarified literary field. I am not a big poet, and I am certainly not a great poet. I write very little poetry, as I feel more comfortable with prose. With poems I have to wring words, juggle them around, or make them run like the spinning delivery of a fiendish ball when bowled, and then – surprise! – the ball is tipped for four runs. Enough of cricketing similies: my poetry is on the village greens of this medium, not in the test matches. I am not charged by adolescent angst, more by the joy of the sounds and rhythms even of the freest verse, but therein lies the danger that my early attempts at this difficult medium probably failed to tackle. It’s all very well sounding beautiful, but what does it all mean?

I understand my latest poem very well; it’s about teaching English in a foreign country, and it’s going to accompany a project I’ve been working on with a colleague.