Friday, March 27, 2009

StAnza 2009 - Dangerous Poems

I enjoyed the Open Mic and thought having it in the Byre Theatre Bar was a good move. There was a much bigger crowd than normal and a huge range of poets took part. Of course, at all open mics there are poems which appeal and poems which don’t, but everyone gets a round of applause and the atmosphere is upbeat. No one tried to read a twenty-five minute eulogy in rhyming couplets to a long dead grandfather either. People kept to time and listened when others were reading. And Jim Carruth was, as ever, an excellent MC.

I ran into loads of people at StAnza and don’t intend to list them, but it was great to see people I don’t see all that often.

I missed several events I would like to have attended on account of not being able to turn up until the Friday evening: the tall-lighthouse Pilot readings, for one, and the debate on young Scottish poets – although I heard an extract from this by podcast (day 3). Like Claire Askew, I was astonished by a comment from one member of the panel that new Scottish poets for the last few years hadn’t been writing “dangerous” enough material. Where was the equivalent of Eliot today? he asked. Well, where is the equivalent of Eliot ever! I wondered which Scottish poets he had been reading (or not reading) to make a comment like that. And what is “dangerous” anyway? Are the likes of Wallace Stevens, John Ashbery or August Kleinzahler “dangerous”? Or for that matter, Don Paterson, Jackie Kay, Robert Crawford, Kathleen Jamie, Douglas Dunn – are they “dangerous”? Or more “dangerous” than the current crop of emerging Scottish poets?

But then I decided that it was either just a throwaway comment without any real reflection behind it, or the kind of vague thing people say on panels just to get people foaming at the mouth, a wind-up.


Colin Will said...

I haven't a clue what might have been meant by "dangerous". Experimental? Over-revealing? Terrorist? But I wasn't there.

I enjoyed the open mic too, with my favourite being Adnan al-Sayegh, in Arabic and in translation.
{word verification 'unmourn', which I may steal]

Andrew Philip said...

I was surprised by that comment too. It needs unpacked. I was intrigued by the same person's comments about "competent poems" (which make me want to write a deliberately "competent" poem) and newspaper reviewing. I'm not convinced that it takes more space to say why someone is a good poet than to say why someone is a good novelist. The reviewer has to concentrate on different things, but surely it would take as much space to explore the complexities of fiction writing (character, plot, dialogue, narrative voice, point of view, etc). Perhaps I'm wrong; I've no experience of reviewing fiction and far less experience of reviewing poetry than the speaker in question.

Anonymous said...

I was there and I was flabbergasted. Ever since I have been wishing I'd had the presence of mind to have said I wished the same could be said of journalists, or on reading your post, Rob, to bemoan the absence of critics with Eliot's integrity.

Andy, I don't understand that difference either, and I think there is a failure in the mainstream press esp in Scotland to devote the column inches to poetry. If it requires more space then let's see that space put aside.

The gentleman in question also managed to dismiss poets in the performance world (I was talking about events like Voxbox and Seeds of Thought in Glasgow) as "generally quite thin on the page", again, not dissimilair to the criticism published by his self same mouthpiece.

Anyway, I don't want to start a controversy. That would be pretty dangerous.


deemikay said...

Eliot wasn't a "dangerous" writer - did people dive for cover when he came in the room? (I'm having images of him as Marlon Brando in the Godfather...)

To me, anything branded as "dangerous" writing (or art in general) automatically tells me that I may not quite like it, or perhaps more particularly, the person claiming something is "dangerous". It's a just one of these faintly annoying phrases currently used by folk, like "edgy" or "radical", to indicate "non-conservative".

It just all makes me sigh and shake my floppy fringe in despair...

Ross Wilson said...

Whoever says a poet needs more space than a novelist is speaking crap, in my humble opinion! Andrew you're right in that it would take at least as much space, assuming we're talking literary fiction. It could take a novelist years to produce a novel. I've been there. A lot of time and effort, love and passion goes into it, if the writer is a serious writer. The same applies to poetry and, no doubt, all the arts. Obviously, we all have our preferences (some will prefer the novel to poetry and vice versa) but when we begin to say one is better than the other, I think that preference is sliding into prejudice, and quite possibly ignorance, of one or the other.

The problem with reviews (and I've had a bash at that; fiction, not poetry) is the reviewer is reading a novel/poetry collection once, and possibly quickly, then dashing off a review of a few hundred words in a few hours and judging a work someone spent years sweating and bleeding over!

mcw: "critics with Eliot's integrity." I think Eliot's Tradition and the Individual Talent is excellent (and I say that as someone who avoids Lit Crit as much as possible.) There was a great article about a recent Picasso exhibition recently in which it discussed Picasso's relationship to the old masters. It linked up in my mind with the Eliot essay. But I've lost the plot here (always a problem for a novelist!)

Deemikay: Eliot WAS a "dangerous writer." Didn't you hear about his fight with Pound aboard the Titanic? I don't know who started it, or who won. Hemingway taught Pound boxing right enough. But would he hit a man wi specs? And Eliot had a slight advantage in being that wee bit younger . . . and, aye, lets chuck oot aw these crit-speak words "radical" "dangerous" etc . . . tsk! I'm reading Frost at the moment: poetry wi mud oan its sole!

Rob: did you feel the passion for poetry coming out of Douglas Dunn? Wasn't it great how he kept asking folk what poets they READ? He had his own ideas, sure, who wouldn't after a lifetimes practice, but he kept asking folk what they were reading and was so open to other people's opinions, regardless of his own.

Colin: great meeting up with you! Especially outside the cafe that morning: you helped me forget my hangover!

Background Artist said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Background Artist said...

Stuart Kelly, Literary Editor of Scotland on Sunday is the man who made the point about there being no dangerous poets, and had some very interesting contributions to make, one of which made explcit a view I had an inkling of but was ravelled incoherently in the abstract of my mind, until hearing Kelly draw out what I was thinking.

However, I thought his opening comments on the dearth of literary magazines, betray his print-publishing background.

He said when he left university there were 30 Scottish literary magazines and now there are only five, and drew the conclusion that:

"...the seedbed of where young poets come from is completely missing."

As there were only a selection of what was said at the breakfast-panel, I don't now if Kelly mentioned the internet, but I think it is fair to say that the seedbed Kelly ties to the 25 magazines that would have previously been a route for the dangerous voices to come up, has not vanished, but been displaced online and may be even greater than before.

In the short time I have been dabbling since 2001, the young poets who are coming up now, display a clear generational difference than the last New Gen, as they are not passively being directed by a publisher parading them as part of a marketing ploy in the pages of the vanished mags, but directing their own efforts, and not soley into the pevious print-publishing routes, but setting up a dual pronged approach by getting themselves out more on their own steam in print and on the web, which is a central part of their strategy.

Poets like Askew (who I think shows the most savvy as an independant all round member of the intellegensia, because she exhibits an extreme capability in compartmartalising the two aspects of her creative and commercial lives) -- and other clusters such as ones associated with Chivers (another whizzkid) and people like Jon Stone (him too), and poets with a more formal, less adventurous approach to career management - such as Wilkinson and Adam O'Riordan at the Guardian - who is well placed to forge ahead of the main *competitors* in his pool.


It is reasonable to assume Kelly is not as engaged in the online topography as those many years his junior we would expect of anyone to be having the dangerous voices, are - and if his eye and working mind is spent focussed on print venues for the majority of his day, then rather than his claim of no dangerous voices being accurate, it could well be that he has not involved himself in the online revolution, and though there is a certitude and confidence about what he says, the fact is he is of an age where it is understandable he may not be best equipped to recognise any dangerous voices as being such -- especially if he is not up to speed with the web developments and developing mores and formatts of this publishing model.

*Now I can't review books that don't exist* he said, indicating whre his head is at.


However, where I am with him is on his analogy that much of todays poets seem like the undergraduates under the sway of Ruskin, who painted very competent watercolours but *were all looking for the Picasso*.

Kelly articulated what I was instinctively thinking myself but only consciously realised on listening to him, that there are clear signs of this homogenised competence: *the gerundive opening, standing by a window, looking from the train* - and the sense of a poet assuming an audience is there; not as an actor in the realm of make believe directing a perfomance for the pleasure of a potential listener, but as a private indvidual whose writing prioritizes their own sense of expectation and entitlement over that of their reader's.

"...yoking together the abstract and the concrete....the metaphysical loam, ephemeral twigs and a kind of tentative morality. People don't like to say *this is the case* - they say: *maybe it was that, or perhaps I felt.."

Whilst I don't agree with Kelly's proposition (if that was what he is adovating) that weilding together the abstract and concrete is not a poetic activity, I do on his overall take that 8you can get these very competent things that look like poems, smell like poems, but somehow lack that dangerous spark."


But what a fantastic set of podcasts, Colin has achieved a great thing with this. I always thought that as soon as a hand held recorder came out that recorded to this quality, there would be a proliferation of live poetry in this format making its way online and adding to the composition of a fuller picture, a re-balancing in which the live spoken aspect takes on a much more pro-active role in cintemporary practice.


clograbb - is the word verification, fitting mah noosair me 'arties..


Andrew Philip said...

It occurs to me that one sense in which more space might be necessary for newspaper reviews of poetry is that, because the readership for poetry is smaller than that for novels, it might be assumed that familiarity with the elements and conventions of the form is therefore more limited and in need of greater explanation. However, I can't think of any newspaper review that demonstrates that.

Rob said...

There's no doubt that SK made some good points and that no surprise. He is an interesting commentator and, in fact, wrote one of my favourite prose books of the last decade ('The Book of Lost Books'). It's simply his use of 'dangerous' and his belief that poetry requires more space than prose for review that people are questioning here.

Andy, I think you might have a point in your last statement there. And that's maybe why so many newspapers give so little coverage to poetry - because it needs space those who pull the commercial strings aren't willing to give. So the truth of your proposition is proved by the relative absence of space given to poetry!

Ross, I'd say good reviewers give work sufficient time and thought and bad ones don't. I know what you mean about Douglas Dunn. I enjoyed his masterclass.

On 'dangerous': I have the same reaction to the word as you, David. If anyone suggested to me that a writer was 'dangerous' I'd be expecting some sub-Bukowski ranter!

At any time in history, most poetry won't be brilliant. Only a few poets will stand out decades further on because their work is great and has been preserved. The rest (leaving aside the bad stuff) will range between being merely 'competent' to good. Perhaps if you're a reviews editor, you get sent plenty of bland stuff and it colours your view of what's happening in poetry. But I doubt there's any less exciting work being produced than there was twenty years ago.

The StAnza podcasts have been really interesting. Round of applause for Colin and Peggy!

Judith Fitzgerald said...

Can't argue with you at all, deemikay, for the same reason you posit in your fringe-floppy comment. Dangerous poems? I'd stay away; or, if I were made to attend such an event by my editor, I'd get a bullet-proof vest and a couple tattoos, to boot. (Erm, prolly one with Leonard Cohen's Hummingbird; or, since I'm a member of the Order of the Unified Heart, that logo.)

This sounds, on balance, terrific though; not dangerous at all.

Eliot looked at the ground in public; I kid you not. He had this habit of looking at the ground; I think he unnerved some wannabes; so, who can argue with a pose of that magnitude?

Not moi.
p.s. Wonderful to see such passionate discussions happening here, that's the real reason I'm commenting

Claire A said...

Sadly, he used the word 'dangerous' again and again -- it was certainly not a throwaway comment. Indeed, he made this same point three times, obviously hoping that the rest of the panel would bite, back him up. Obviously no one did -- every time he returned to it, it was glossed over pretty quickly... perhaps that's a good thing, but I do wish one of the panel had challenged it, or at least asked him to elaborate. Had he taken the time to unpack quite what he meant, as Andy P suggests, all may have become clear (although -- and hey, this might be a bit dangerous -- I suspect there was probably little behind it other than a desire to stir things up. He was the only non-poet on the panel, after all, and seemed to have a bit of a point to prove).

As for the idea of his ideas about "competent poems" (for those of you who haven't listened, he actually listed what it takes to write a "competent" poem!)... dangerous? Didn't sound it to me.

Anonymous said...

Okay, at the risk of getting my head in my hands, I'm going to chip in. First of all, the "competent" poems mentioned were not an example of "dangerous poems", but the antithisis, as in there are (or are there?) too many competent poems around and not enough that are trying something so completely different to anything done before that people might initially reject their claim to be poems; the point being that poetry has changed over the centuries and decades because of some poets trying these completely different things (hence the reference to TS Eliot), and such experimentation, successful or not, might be hoped for more from younger poets. (And surely a good thing, no? Or at least not necessarily a bad thing?) So dangerous, I took it, was in the sense of challenging the status quo of contemporary poetry. And I'm not quite sure why that has prompted such fury .... I didn't ask for an elaboration on "dangerous" because what was meant seemed clear to me. Obviously if it wasn't clear to the audience, then I misjudged this. I could understand if people want to dispute whether or not there are people trying such "dangerous" poetry - I expected some people to insist that they were doing so - but I am surprised at the apparent resistence to the notion that it might possibly be a good thing, or lead to something interesting. Or maybe this is because people have read different meanings into dangerous ... In any case, I think it can only be a good thing that a couple of words chucked into the discussion have prompted such engaged and provocative exchanges.

Rob said...

“Or maybe this is because people have read different meanings into dangerous ... In any case, I think it can only be a good thing that a couple of words chucked into the discussion have prompted such engaged and provocative exchanges.” (EL)

I think the word “dangerous” is the real problem here. I agree with Stuart Kelly that mere competence isn’t worth the effort. Ideally, poets should be continually extending themselves and their ideas of what a poem might be. His basic point is spot on.

But equally, the groundwork has to be done first. Eliot, for example, didn’t write in a vacuum. He had Laforgue and Donne behind him, and he had Pound pulling him towards a new way of thinking. True innovation requires an intense engagement with the past and boldness with regard to the future.

The problem with most writing that markets itself as new, exciting and “dangerous” is that it lacks the sense of being part of a historical process. It doesn’t emerge from anything. Instead it confuses gritty, “dangerous”, edgy subject matter with poetic effect. So, rather than Prufrock, Easter 1916, or Sunday Morning, we end up with bland poems about social issues, the writer’s navel, or breathtaking insights (which usually aren’t insights at all) that may as well have been written as (not very good) prose.

However, I think it’s wrong to suggest that no one in Scotland is challenging the status quo of contemporary poetry. Not all those doing so are ‘young’, but several collections have emerged in recent years which don’t seem connected to any merely ‘competent’ mainstream UK poetry. AB Jackson’s ‘Fire Stations’, Gerry McGrath’s ‘A to B’, Andy Philip’s ‘The Ambulance Box’, Cheryl Follon’s ‘All Your Talk’, Hazel Frew’s ‘Seahorses’, and Peter Davidson’s ‘The Palace of Oblivion’ are all interesting debuts from the last few years. I’ll leave others to judge whether my own book extends beyond ‘competence’. In addition, there are writers who continue to develop the range and quality of their work even when they’ve been publishing for years – Herbert, Price, Lumsden, Hutchison etc. √¨

And in addition to that, we have several exciting young poets developing at the moment. Let’s give them time – time to develop their style, to read beyond the contemporary scene, and to find the obsessions that will propel their work into a different league. If we hurry young writers into being “dangerous” too early, they could easily become no more than pastiches of ‘edgy’ contemporaries.

Anonymous said...

Rob, I'd agree with much of what you write, except to point out that it is not really addressing the questions set to the panel at the poetry breakfast on 20th March.
These were: given the statistics, re Scottish poets under 40 published in full collection form, and winning prizes 15 years ago (25+, per Dream State) and now (I think maybe 3 were suggested or 4, including Andy and Cheryl - I'm not aware that the others in your list are under 40), is there a dearth (not absence, dearth) of such, and if so, is it a problem, and can anything be done about it.
The panel were not asked to comment on Scottish poetry as a whole, and I don't think their comments should be interpreted other than in the context of these questions, and certainly not as disregarding the older poets you mention, or other younger poets others has mentioned. Can I suggest that people look back to the original edition of Dream State (not the later reissue) and remind themselves of the range of poets and of poetry being produced, and published, by "Scottish" poets under 40 in 1994 - dangerous or otherwise.

Cadwallender said...

Voxbox ? thin on the page?
Rob McKenzie, Paul Summers, Eddie Gibbons, Colin Will, Helena Nelson, Paula Jennings, Richard Medrington,Nancy Somerville, Colin Donati, Neville Clay, Claire Askew,
Sally Evans, Mike Dillon all poets who have read at Voxbox. Are they thin on the page then?
Performance poets who have decided that their work belongs in spoken word form have different priorities than 'page' poets and as such publish because their works are in demand from their audiences and are sold at performances.

Rob said...

Could be of course that 1994 was an exceptional time and that today's situation is still reasonably healthy, although I'm not sure about that!

And thanks for chipping in, Kevin. voXboX is eclectic, that's for sure.

Anonymous said...

"*Now I can't review books that don't exist* he said, indicating whre his head is at."

It transpires he can't acknowledge receipt of ones that do either, not my personal experience but from a reliable source.

I found Juliet Rees' comments about young people writing poetry in private and not choosing to make it public very interesting. Perhaps they consider it "dangerous" to expose something so personal. I can't explain the dearth of young Scottish poets but I think people can feel threatened by certain behaviours. I very much doubt that being told they don't measure up to T S Eliot's ground breaking standards would tempt many out.

Kevin, I didn't manage to mention Voxbox by name at the discussion but did posit that many young Scottish poets existed in the performance space and that perhaps this was why SK was not aware of them.


Stuart Kelly said...

Well, well, well. This certainly seems to have ruffled a few feathers. I don’t normally post on blogs but given the amount of misconception and peeved sniping I thought I should avail myself of the opportunity to set the record straight.

Firstly the word “dangerous”. “Dangerous” is what Wordsworth and Coleridge did to polite heroic verse; what Browning did to the mellifluous mid Victorians; what Eliot and Pound did to the stuffy Georgians; what MacDiarmid did to the kailyard. They didn’t follow the rules, they changed the rules. You can call it radical, experimental, avant-gardiste; but the crucial dynamic persists. On the most technical level I’d define it as the aggressive appropriation of the supposedly non-poetic into a new aesthetic, not reducible to matters of vocabulary, form, subject matter or syntax. I used the word “dangerous” simply because it also grates against the odd liberal consensus in poetics, which is as political and heuristic as it is metrical and imagistic.

There are new poets / young poets / emerging voices out there whom I think are doing something refreshingly new: Ethan Paquin, Gabriel Gudding, Andrea Brady, Kim Morrissey, for example. I’m particularly impressed by Brady, who seems to address a crucial question: when language is so corrupted by spectacle and spin, how can it be twisted out of its relationship to power? It’s a struggle that is as yet undecided, ever since the Situationists all became PR executives. That said, there is also a great deal of tame, timid, tepid verse out there, content in its solipsism and lazy in its thinking. It reads as if the work done by writers like Catling, Prynne and Olson had never happened, let alone Berryman or Veronica Forrest-Thomson (the single least appreciated figure in post-War Scottish poetics).

To address a few of the other floating grievances: yes, I do read online material. I’ve never yet met an online poet that wouldn’t snap your fingers for a publishing contract. Nor have I found much online poetry that makes full use of the Internet’s capacity for aleatory forms, non-linear reading, surreptitious links, embedded images, sound or video. The fact that the Internet has not yet found a form truly its own – the fact it is still a meta-medium, rather than a medium – is disappointing. In terms of my remarks on Morgan, it seems there is a confusion between technique and aesthetic. Morgan has many forms, but an underlying sense of the inherently regenerative and optimistic nature of language. Compare to Brady, for example, or Roberto Bolano in prose.

As for the newspaper reviews: well, I can’t acknowledge receipt of every book, since I get literally hundreds every week. The book pages are not a small magazine or online journal that can promote a particular genre or approach, but intended for an intelligent, non-specialist readership and have to reflect the diversity of print culture: literary fiction, non-fiction (including biography, memoir, popular science, polemic, reportage), “popular” fiction (including crime, sci-fi, horror, romance and fantasy), graphic novels, poetry, playscripts, anthologies, children’s books, re-issues of significant texts and so on. Personally, I wonder why a journal like the Scottish Review of Books does so little for poetry. The review of Roddy Lumsden’s book was gauche.

“Thin on the page” – I have found this to be the case with some collections by performance poets. One of my benchmarks for poetry in printed form is the capacity to be re-read, and too often some performance poets use punchlines that effectively short-circuit that experience. That’s not to say they’re all like that.

As for the actual online debate, I can’t say I’m surprised but I am vexed that so many posters decided to tell me what I was thinking. For the record, I don’t say things for effect, and believe passionately in what I do say. Of course, the very fact that some posters seem to think that because they don’t agree with me, I must be just lying to cause a stooshie speaks volumes about aspects of the current scene.

But I’m happy to respond to any further criticism, within the bounds of general civility. Thank you, Rob, for the kind comments about Lost Books – a new, expanded edition is coming out next year. I was always cross that I had to ditch the section on Dunbar’s Lament, and never got round the writing about the Yongle Encyclopaedia and the Somadeva texts. And I’m working on a book on Sir Walter Scott and the perils of literary celebrity, then (as Eleanor mentioned) How To Be Experimental: A Z-A of the Avant Garde.

Stuart Kelly said...

And in terms of the space it takes to review poetry: explaining what the author is trying to do, the extent to which they succeed, the apt comparisons that might help the reader situate the work, how the collection holds together as a whole, how individual poems actually function - that's a longer and tougher job than reviewing a novel.

Judith Fitzgerald said...

NO! "Dangerous" is what happened when the twin towers were attacked; "dangerous" is what Cho did to his co-students at Virginia Tech; "dangerous" is what Lepine did to our women at Ecole Polytechnique in Montreal; "dangerous" is what happened in the London underground; and, "dangerous" is what our Canadian troops confront everyday in Afghanistan.

I won't enter into this fray; but, I will say, when you deploy the word "dangerous," you trivialise and diminish what it truly is. That's not dangerous, it's shameful. Attempting to defend the use of that adjective, additionally, is shamelessly pukifying (particularly since a poet ought to possess some small sensitivity to the intent, import, value, and significance of words generally, not to mention such incendiary ones specifically).

Get a snipe-gripe. Gimme a brick!

Judith Fitzgerald

Stuart Kelly said...

And dangerous is leaving nail scissors near kittens and screwdrivers near toddlers - you're describing terrorism, and seem not to understand the metaphorical use of language. I'm delighted that you "won't enter the fray" and end by asking for a brick. Did you even realise the irony of your rhetoric?

Rob said...

Hi Stuart, you’d expect to ruffle a few feathers by making these statements, would you not? But perhaps a few feathers need to be ruffled.

I still think ‘dangerous’ isn’t the best word to use. It’s too easily misinterpreted. At the very least, as Andy Philip pointed out, it needs to be unpacked, and I’m glad you’ve now done that in your comments.

The poets you’ve chosen as examples of those doing something new are intriguing – three Americans and a Canadian. So maybe you feel the tepid nature of much contemporary poetry isn’t so much a Scottish problem as a UK one? I agree that there is plenty of ‘tepid’ poetry out there although, rather than looking to Prynne and his followers for inspiration (no thanks!), I look more to the New York School, Wallace Stevens, Michael Hofmann, Zbigniew Herbert, and W.S.Graham. I really liked recent UK collections by Chris McCabe, Roddy Lumsden and Claire Crowther. John Ash and Mark Ford also wake me up. From the U.S. I’m interested in August Kleinzahler and DA Powell, but haven’t had time to read much of Powell’s latest book yet. From Australia, I was really impressed by ‘Event’, a debut collection (on Salt) by Judith Bishop.

Thanks for the comments on ‘online poetry’. That’s another huge can of worms, by the way. I am online at the moment, but I’m not, and have never thought of myself as, an ‘online poet’. Maybe some poets do think in these terms? Other than Rik Roots, I mean, who is a very good online poet and who is uninterested in a publishing contract – there are exceptions to every rule.

Also on newspaper reviews and performance poetry, I doubt everyone will be happy with your comments, but they seem fair enough to me. I think what Kevin Cadwallender says is correct – there are page poets, performance poets (with different priorities as regards their printed work) and a few poets (e.g. Tim Turnbull, Tim Wells, Kevin himself etc) able to be both at the same time.

Judith Fitzgerald said...

> And dangerous is leaving nail scissors near kittens and screwdrivers near toddlers - you're describing terrorism, and seem not to understand the metaphorical use of language.<<

Read my tips: Dregma. Dullicious dregma; or, PKBullshit to the Nth degree. That's not danger; that's carelessness. Big diff.

Additionally, please practise a degree of civility and refrain from attempting to stoop to conquer rather than rising to communicate should you wish to enter into a discussion with me, Mr. Kelly.

I, the person and poet, am not under the microscope here; your reply borders on ad feminam attack. When one resorts to same, one's fortunate I even bother to come back and point out the error of their rhetorical game.

> I'm delighted that you "won't enter the fray" and end by asking for a brick. Did you even realise the irony of your rhetoric?<<

Actually, I'm delighted to note that your response indicates you actually did. Excellent.

Unfortunately, by asking me a question, your delight contradicts the veracity of your statement; otherwise, you would not be asking one of yours truly at all, would you?

The true danger lies in commodifying, codifying, and degrading what exactly "dangerous" means and why not putting it to work to promo the sacred art of poetry matters so very much.

It's repugnant to witness the commodification and devaluation of any word for self-serving po-promo purposes, IMO.

Next time we speak, if indeedly we ever do, please undertake a few moments of research before you enter the fray with you know who or, IOW? Adieu.

Rob said...

Hmmmmmm. Well, I make the score Judith 2 Stuart 2 and perhaps it's best if I blow a final whistle on that one.

These are clearly subjects people feel very strongly about. I'm not surprised to see the odd missile flying about and passions running high.

Over at Colin Will's blog, we've been discussing what we can do to develop poetry in Scotland and we'll be meeting soon to decide on a strategy. In other words, something positive and practical might come from this and from other such debates.