I must begin this week with an apology for the fact that there was no poem yesterday. The fact is that, since Michael's departure, Hamish and I have decided to publish from Monday to Friday - plus, of course, the usual review on Sunday - at least for the time being. We will see how things go over the next few weeks and then make a decision about whether or not to seek another editor. We may also build in a little more flexibility to the submission guidelines in order to accommodate slightly longer work. We like spare, economical writing and, of course, we will continue to look with favour on shorter pieces; however, there have been occasions in the past when we have had to refuse excellent submissions simply because they exceeded the forty line limit. In future, we will be a little more 'forgiving' in this area and, once again, we will see how things develop. If all goes well, we may amend the actual guidelines ready 2014.
This week we began on Monday with Laura Taylor's 'Assembly', a wonderfully strong and passionate piece which juxtaposes the protest that recently took place against the NHS cuts in Manchester and the woeful events of the similarly peaceful protest that, in 1819, became the 'Peterloo Massacre'. There is much that is quotable in this poem; sadly, to select at the length required to do the work justice would only serve to fragment it. By far and away the best course of action, therefore, would be to do as I have just done and read the whole thing again. At a time when the 'gagging bill' has been hurried through the House of Commons with what (at a meeting in Penzance last night) Andrew George, (Lib-Dem MP for St Ives) described as 'indecent haste', it behoves us all to consider very carefully the consequences of the passing of this bill into law for free speech, political assembly, and, indeed, democracy itself.
Still on a political theme, Tuesday saw us with David Mellor and 'Pounds, shillings and pence', a real treat in that this submission came in the form of one of David's video clips. (I keep meaning to get around to this myself but never seem to find the time. Of course, I don't have the benefit of David's delicious accent which in this piece, as in others I have heard, is deployed to striking effect.
We missed Wednesday because there was nothing available to put up. Thursday, however, brought us to Mark Mace Smith's poem on the Mark Duggan inquest. Suddenly The Gun Disappears Testimony of V3 (anonymous cop) is another very powerful piece the more so, as commentator Laura Taylor pointed out, for its use of actual quotations from the evidence of 'V3'. There can have been little in the findings of this inquest to comfort or console the family and friends of the victim of a young man with the best years of his life still ahead of him. We are grateful to the author for choosing to submit to Poetry24.
On Friday, it was me again, I'm afraid. I have had a frantically busy week with two launch readings for 'Murder of Krows 2', an important deadline pending, and a major part in a musical comedy show which is coming to production next week. Nevertheless, when I came across this story about police action against the homeless I knew I had to write something and the result was our final poem for the week 'Negative Impact'. If I was profoundly shaken by the original story, I am somewhat comforted by the fact that many people seem to share my concern over the wider implications of a policy which seems as pointless as it is inhumane. Please join us for another week next week and keep those submissions coming in. In the meantime, have a peaceful and productive week.