New micro stuff

Slam Poet

Slam Poet Reading

Welcome once more to the Poetry News Desk. As ever – a short introduction from our sponsor Alam:

Hmm, I think I made a mistake at the beginning of the week (apart from getting up). I enrolled at a poets forum known as poetry free for all where you basically open yourself up to merciless critique of what you thought were your masterpieces…

Now, you get to kick ass too, and it’s quite fun at the beginning digging in, but after a while you begin to wish for at least one real poem – but I have to work my way up the ladder before getting to the good ones. In the meantime I get subjected to people trying to argue that metaphors are in fact adjectives and that my critique was wrong, or I get told off my the moderators that my revisions are too quick – it takes at least three months to revise a poem in accordance with their standards! But, at least a couple gave a decent, in-depth reading of the poem I submitted.

But I’m still in two minds – it takes a lot of time writing the critiques, and it’s quite nerve-wracking having your poems subject to critique, but it must be, it must be!

STOP PRESS! Lars just sent me a copy of his new book Spurious. I am very jealous, because it has been published by a proper publisher, but I’ve still got to send him a copy of my book in return…

Anyway, enough of this waffle, let’s get down to poetry business – I made a little video of a reading of my poem Slam Poet – you can see it here:

I’ve also got a new load of microverse, haiku and tanka. You can read them here.

Killing Thoughts

Well, I do hope you all had as happy, successful, stomach thickening a Christmas and New Year bash as I have enjoyed. My wife asked me what my new year resolution was, and I said it was to be a better person. She sniffed loudly and asked whether it might not be better to be a thinner person…

But weight watching is not the theme of the day for today, you’ll be relieved to hear. Funnily enough, after reading Spurious I met an old friend from Essex over the Christmas holiday. Obviously we reminisced about the old days when hope was still young and foolhardy, but couldn’t help being a little jealous of our friend W’s rise to fame – nobody would write a book about us – although we did wonder whether knowing him would increase our sex appeal…

What was more apparent was my friend’s despair at the scope of the change facing British academia in the next few years. It’s not simply the introduction of massive fees, which will serve to hugely reduce student numbers, especially those from poorer backgrounds. What’s galling is the oncoming privatisation of higher education which is especially focussed on Humanities and Arts subjects since they are regarded by the current Government as the most frivolous of the academic subjects i.e. both worthless in terms of their usefulness in getting a job, and so easy that anyone could teach them. Government funding of these subjects is to be axed completely and they should be completely fee dependent. Fees will be kept down by opening up the education market and letting the free market dictate the best solution.

You know, like they did with the water, with the gas, with the steel (remember steel?), the cars (remember the cars?), the docks (remember the docks?), the airports (did a great job this winter), the trains (do I need say anything about the trains?)… It’s going to be good!

But not for thought. I think it’s safe to say that thought – in its institutionalised form, in terms of critical and analytical thought of all forms (not just Philosophy) – will die. It’s not just that Humanities departments will close, which they surely will, but that the ethos behind them will be lost. Sold off, to be exact. Degrees will be effectively up for sale, but the knowledge and skills they stand for are not effective commodities – you cannot buy them, you have to acquire them, you have to work and you have to learn. This is obviously not going to be acceptable to people paying for their degrees – why should they work for what they’ve paid for? You don’t think this is true? Just consider G.W. Bush’s qualifications (BA from Yale and an MBA from Harvard) – do you really think he knows what he is talking about? Witness the symptoms of the death of thought…

I could go on and on about this one, but I won’t. I did something much better and wrote a poem about it. You can read it here.

Oh well, it’s back to the ironing board for me…

Golden Tone Radio

Just hunkering down for my next batch of corrections and thought I’d just quickly mention this song before attacking the looming mountain. It’s from my good friend Clemens Krallmann and his delightful band Golden Tone Radio, but is special to me because I wrote the lyrics. It’s called Pictures and you can listen to it here.

And here are the lyrics:

Pictures

Run, don’t miss your bus now,
You have missed it every day,
Love is growing stronger,
It’s so hard to leave our bay.

Dance, my eyes will kiss you,
I have kissed you every way,
Love is drawing closer,
The dawn seems so far away.

I adore you,
Like marshmallows,
We saw floating in the sky,
As we lay gazing at the clouds,
Painting pictures of our joy.

© Andrew Rossiter 2010

Isn’t it nice?

And another quick mention for this blog by Lars Iyer called Spurious: the basis for a new book which is basically a rambling dialogue between a disillusioned Philosophy Professor and his drinking friend – it’s wonderfully obscure and funny, and the bits on Philosophy at Essex University bring back memories, not so fond ones, but memories, anyway.

And that’s it for my quickies – it’s back to whittling down that mountain.