Sunday, 23 November 2008

Only as good as your last reading

A couple of posts ago (the video clip one) the Solitary Walker and I were exchanging comments about how much we liked the poet Lemn Sissay. As I said in the comments I first saw him about 20 years ago (at the now disappeared Duchess of York pub in Leeds...Leeds Alternative Cabaret, the night was called and I was there to review it for a small 'alternative' magazine). He was brilliant and inspiring then and he's still both of those things. I interviewed him back then for that same small 'alternative' magazine too and he was fascinating and friendly and kind of bursting with ideas and creative energy.

Lemn has a new book out called 'Listener' and so I keep coming across him in the media just now. There is a good interview with him in the print magazine Citizen 32 and for the next few days you can hear him on listen again on BBC Radio 3's The Verb programme (talking to Ian McMillan...who makes me sound like a softie southerner or something!). Lemn talks a lot of sense about poetry...makes sense to me anyway. If I was a heroes type person he would be one of my poetry heroes...but I'm not really...and he'd probably hate the idea anyway! There's some other good stuff on the Verb this week too.

P.S. The title of this post comes from the poem that Lemn reads on the Verb this week called 'Applecart Art'.


swiss said...

yes, a lot of sense. the norwegians were funny also!

Rachel Fox said...

Yes I particularly liked this quote from LS -

"as soon as poets do what people want them to then we're lost"

and from the 'Applecart Art' poem -

"I swim with the shallow
If they demand I be deep".

Contrary bugger...I just love it!


Dave King said...

Thanks for the tip -I'll have a listen.

Rachel Fox said...

There's a great short story on the end of it too.

swiss said...

with ref to yr next post.

i listened to the (most enjoyable)verb while finishing the weekend's doodling. i needed to having just flicked on the bbc to catch the weather.

what i did get was a discussion re the new laureate. avoiding any discussion of the actual role or any comparisons with the likes of pinksy or collins, why, they suggested, in the wake of all the 'fun' that is structly come dancing, don't 'we' have a public vote for the laureate. like a kind of poetry idol.....

truly, there is no god

Rachel Fox said...

People have been joking about a 'Poet Idol' for a while now. I guess it was only a matter of time...I can hear the pro argument 'well, if it gets people talking about poetry' and the con 'how feckin stupid'.

I think they should just forget the laureate thing altogether...there is quite enough of a competition element to poetry as it is (all those bloody competitions...more every week... that keep so many good poems tied up and out of sight...) without there being the big prize, the 'look at you, you're top poetry dog' laureate. I'd rather just see all the papers printing more individual poems (random poems stuck in all over the place), more random poems in between TV and radio programmes, more postcards, poems here, there and everywhere. Lemn talks about 'the power of the poem' and that's just it..let the poems out to fly about and do their work. Let's not worry about making more idols.

End of lecture.