Friday, June 10, 2011

Anyone for Tennyson?

Every so often I feel the need to do something completely uncommercial on this blog and write about poetry I feel unaccountably interested in, the more unhip the better. This is fuelled by comments I sometimes read from other poets and performance artists who imagine they are being ‘dangerous’ or ‘cutting edge’ by saying things like, “Forget all that Milton/Wordsworth/Shelley crap with all their rhymes and metre and rules. X [Insert name of contemporary poet] is where it’s at!” Anyone who has read a literary biography of Milton etc will know what ‘danger’ and ‘cutting edge’ means and they usually put our contemporaries well in the shade. And as for rules, these guys twisted them out of shape and reinvented them. They aren’t rules anyway, but form, and the only poets who don’t employ form, including those who write free verse, are those who don’t know what they’re doing and ought to find out.

Anyway, I’m going to write some posts over the next while on Tennyson’s In Memoriam. I’m not an academic and, for anyone wanting an academic analysis of the poem for exams etc, you won’t find much to help you. I’ll be responding to the poem as a reader and as a writer. I won’t cover the whole poem and will stop when I feel like doing so. I hope some readers of this blog will join me.

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