Isn’t every day?

As Cyberscribe points out, it’s National Poetry Day [don’t ask which nation.. – Ed] And to mark it the BBC have taken the obvious route and asked some of our local political respresentatives which poems, and why.. and some of them respond by taking the obvious route.. Now go read a poem. Or listen to one. And the poet laureate Andrew Motion, quoting Keats, “we hate poetry that has a palpable design on us”. Or listen to a Northern Star talk about her favourite poets.[24.5Mb mp3 file]

  • Christ. Dawm Purvis and Deeney are clearly not big literature fans.

  • Dessertspoon

    And what is wrong with Wordsworth and Kipling? Granted they may be obvious choices but not necessarily a sign of a lack of knowledge or regard for literature. What’s your favourite Ziznivy? Personally I like The Kraken by Tennyson.

  • susan

    Pete, do you remember that link you provided some months back to astronomer Jocelyn Bell Burnett’s lecture on her favourite poems? That was truly wonderful.

  • Pete Baker

    This link [24.5Mb mp3 file], susan?

    I remember it well.

  • susan

    Thanks, Pete! I just found it myself, here:

    http://www.podcastdirectory.com/podshows/iphone.php?sid=993144

    It was much easier to find when I tried Gooogling Jocelyn Bell Burnell, instead of Jocelyn Bell Burnett.

    I am just not on a roll this week. In any case, it really is engaging and enlightening to listen to. Thanks again, Pete!

  • pith

    If only they had asked the Paisley lads they could have triggered a reawakening of interest in the old Suibhne poem. They must know of it.

    Someone chose “If”. Right so. And someone else chose “The Stolen Child”. Who would’ve thought it?

  • susan

    They are elected pols being interviewed by the Beeb. They were hardly going to go for Gerard McKeown’s “Your Bathroom, An Apology” or Margaret Atwood’s “Helen of Troy Does Countertop Dancing.”

  • pith

    That’s ok then.

  • susan

    Fair enough so.

  • pith

    Whatever the merits of a national poetry day, if the BBC is going to get involved, why doesn’t it make an effort? Reithianism did have its value.

    “The Stolen Child” by the way has long been one of my favourite poems.

    Side issue – SF jogging along on a British national day.

  • susan

    Is that ‘pith’ as in helmet, pith?

  • pith @ 09:40 PM:

    Fair dos: the Beeb has been running Poetry Please (http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/arts/poetryplease.shtml) for years!

    And they’re none too nationalistic about it either. The BBC Library is a great reservoir of Irish writers in English.

    I’m grateful for what I get.

    Bring back Tennyson’s Morte d’Arthur, I say: not a dry seat in the house:
    So all day the noise of battle roll’d…

  • Dewi

    Cysgid Lloegyr llydan nifer
    A lleufer yn eu llygaid

    You lot will just never get real poetry…..

  • Dawkins

    Dewi,

    Hah! Two can play at that game:

    不亭但亨
    中伏
    世並仁佝
    之事

    And mine rhymes, yours doesnae :0)

  • Dewi

    Lol Dawkins – love the alliteration …….

  • Dawkins

    LOL @ Dewi
    (tho’ it’s so much hooey.)

  • I can’t wait till National Book Day, and they ask them about books. Ask Jackie McDonald what his favourite book is, you know the respons, A Farewell to Arms (bah dah bah)

  • pith

    Malcolm Redfellow,

    Fair point. The BBC for all its faults is a superb institution. It’s the trite end of it that irks me these days. I seldom bother with the news but I did see a “sports report” the other day where some cheeky chappy was having a go at water-skiing. It was like a cross between Blue Peter and Alan Partridge.

  • pith

    Susan, very good.

  • Dawkins

    pith,

    “The BBC for all its faults is a superb institution.”

    Agreed. I wish I’d more time to listen to Radio 4. Far as I’m concerned it’s still a “national treasure”.

  • Dessertspoon

    Radio 4 really is a treasure it should be put in a box and buried.

  • Dawkins

    Each to his own, Puddingspoon :0)

  • Preludes by T.S Eliot Dessertspoon.

    “You dozed, and watched the night revealing
    The thousand sordid images
    Of which your soul was constituted;
    They flickered against the ceiling.”

    Both choices I criticised indicated that the only poetry those politicians knew was read at school.

    Wordsworth’s insipid nature bollocks I’ve hated since I was 14 and If is such a cliché.

  • pith

    Wow. To hate something, anything all the way from 14 years of age. That’s something. Unless you are 15.

  • Dawkins

    pith,

    I can understand it though. “The Daffodils” must rank among the cheesiest poems of all time. I too had to suffer it at school. I always thought the first line was completely OTT. A lonely cloud? Floating on high? How long did it last before being zapped by the sun (I was a smartass kid). Here from memory is my schoolboy take on the first lines.

    I wandered, lonely as a cow
    That drops its turds in vales, on hills
    When all at once I saw a crowd
    Of yummy, scrummy daffodils.
    Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
    Muttering, stuttering at the bees.

    Ted Hughes, eat thy heart out!

  • pith

    Dawkins,

    I wasn’t a smartass kid. I wasn’t even just smart. I might’ve been an ass. After posting the above, I realised that I can outdo hating something from 14. Puck and Bottom. I can’t have them. Put me off Shakespeare for years. Well, months actually because we did Macbeth next. I still hate them.

    Can cows go on hills? I thought they fell off if it wasn’t flat. Hopefully a new visitor centre at the Causeway will address this question with an interactive display of free presbyterians.

  • Be fair, pith @ 11:31 AM, it’s only Wordsworth’s insipid nature bollocks he’s distaining. That still leaves several hundred poems to work on.

    I tend to the view of Brandes:
    Two voices are there: one is of the deep,
    And one is of an old half-witted sheep;
    And Wordsworth, both are thine.

    Credit where it’s due, though, his early work (with the politics and suppressed eroticism) achieves the magnificent. I am always surprised that his anti-racist stuff goes unnoticed: sonnets VIII and IX from “Liberty and Independence”, perhaps?

  • Dewi

    Do not go gentle into that good night,
    Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
    Rage, rage against the dying of the light
    ……..
    And you, my father, there on the sad height,
    Curse, bless me now with your fierce tears, I pray.
    Do not go gentle into that good night.
    Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

    Dylan Thomas had his good days….

  • Dawkins

    pith,

    Can a cow go on a hill? Hah! You’re obviously a city boy.

    Let me assure you she can.

    But obviously the smartest cows use the specially adapted Cowliftâ„¢.

  • Dewi @ 01:15 PM:

    Dylan Thomas seems to pursue me like Francis Thompson’s Hound of Heaven”:
    I fled Him, down the nights and down the days;
    I fled Him, down the arches of the years;
    I fled Him, down the labyrinthine ways
    Of my own mind; and in the mist of tears
    I hid from Him, and under running laughter.

    The bugger keeps turning up: the Wheatsheaf in Rathbone Place (where he met Caitlin Macnamara for the first time, and proposed on the spot); the Falls Hotel in Ennistymon (owned by the Macnamaras, where Thomas and Caitlin lived for two years, and where the bar is named after him); the White Horse Tavern on Hudson and 11th Street (his last resort, where he is disconcertingly in trompe d’oeil on the end wall). In all innocence, at one time of my life or another, I walked into each before realising the connection. Heck, they were recycling Under Milk Wood to sell Volkswagens recently! Nevertheless, keep him on the list, both for his prose and his poetry.

    Bringing it back home (no prizes for spotting the roundabout link to Thomas), can we have Paddy Kavanagh included?
    I have what every poet hates in spite
    Of all the solemn talk of contemplation.
    Oh, Alexander Selkirk knew the plight
    Of being king and government and nation.
    A road, a mile of kingdom. I am king
    Of banks and stones and every blooming thing.

    And the superb little sonnet Epic:

    I have lived in important places, times
    When great events were decided: who owned
    That half a rood of rock, a no-man’s land
    Surrounded by our pitchfork-armed claims.
    I heard the Duffys shouting ‘Damn your soul’
    And old McCabe, stripped to the waist, seen
    Step the plot defying blue cast-steel –
    ‘Here is the march along these iron stones’.
    That was the year of the Munich bother. Which
    Was most important? I inclined
    To lose my faith in Ballyrush and Gortin
    Till Homer’s ghost came whispering to my mind.
    He said: I made the Iliad from such
    A local row. Gods make their own importance.

  • pith

    Dawkins,

    Ceci c’est pas une vache.

  • Dawkins

    pith,

    Nor is this one :0)

  • pith

    …but it is clearly about to fall off.