Sunday, 17 February 2013
It has been a week of ups and downs here in the boggy marshland that is Cornwall. On the down side, the repair to my laptop which was promised for the beginning of this week, still has not materialised and I am now, officially, so far behind with all kinds of projects that I must have very little chance of ever catching up. On a more positive note, though, it has been a good week socially with two trips to The Poly in Falmouth. The first of these was to see a Valentine's Day showing of 'Truly, Madly, Deeply' (complete with chocolates and paper handkerchiefs) and the second to enjoy the music and quirky humour of the indefatigable Neil Inness at 'Another Chance to Get It Right', his current one man show.
Yes, I know the Bonzo Dogs were a long time ago but, in addition to the old stuff and the clowning around, Mr Inness offered some sharply observed humour, not to mention a handful of thought-provoking and/or heart-wrenching ditties. Many of the audience, it is true, were of a 'a certain age' but there were, too, some younger admirers and we were all treated to - and most heartily enjoyed - a spirited rendition of that old Python favourite 'The Philosophers Song'.
Why is this relevant to this week's review? Well, in some ways, it isn't. On the other hand, as my partner and I sat in the audience, we were heartened by Mr Inness's sheer vitality as much as entertained by his actual performance. It was evident to us that he is passionately committed to creative endeavour right - and here I quote one of his own lyrics - to 'the end of the line'.
So, then, on that note, on to the poetry. Gwen Seabourne's 'Raising the White Rose' got us off to an excellent start by asking us to consider the 'unknowable' identity of Richard III. Was he, after all, a 'hero' or a 'monster'? As was pointed out by Michael Ray, the rhythm of this piece was strikingly effective as was the hissing sibilance of 'that snake-twisted spine/ and those venomous wounds'.
On Wednesday, Maeve Heneghan brought us 'Heavenly Laundry', a response to the accounts given by survivors of the Magdalene Laundries. In the final stanza, a lifetime of loss is boldly stated:
'After that day
I pushed him into this world,
I never saw him again.
He had red hair,
just like his da.'
Thank you, Maeve, for this powerful yet disciplined poem and thank you, too, to those who took the time to leave comments on the site. It is pleasing to see that we are getting a few more of these lately since we do value a dialogue. Incidentally, we really don't mind if someone disagrees with us (as happened to yours truly very recently) since it seems to us that it is part of the job of the poet to poke his or her head above the parapet from time to time.
Thursday saw the welcome return to Poetry 24 of Noel Loftus whose 'Sky Burial' was a positive feast of wonderful lines and images. My own favourite was:
'the Tibetans will bear you to a plateau on a mountain,
shadowed by wild dogs barking your song.'
I also admired the skilful - and fearless - use of repetition in the opening stanza and I loved the idea of 'the crows who come last'. Noel's poem was a little longer than we usually publish, though our guidelines do specify up to forty lines of verse. Please don't submit anything longer than this because we will only have to ask you to edit it down.
Finally, on Friday, E.R. Olsen gave us 'Timbuktu', a reminder of the value of 'ancient books' and a timely warning that their willful destruction 'will not do'. It seems to me that this is a poem that speaks - or should speak - to all of us, especially those of us here in Britain at a time when our libraries are under threat. Unfortunately, we have a government who cares not a jot for those who depend on the library service more or less entirely for their access to books for pleasure and study. Like E. R. Olsen, we might well 'hope to find/for culture’s sake/fate spared a few.'
Well, that's all from me for a while. Thanks to all our contributors and readers. Please keep the submissions coming and don't forget to tell your friends. Abi