Any thoughts for Poetry Chair?

After the fiasco of the

Walcott-Padel controversy of 2009

Who do you support for the Chair of Poetry in Oxford this time?

At least I had heard of both those contenders. This time around I’m largely in the dark. Here are their statements.

Carol Ann Duffy our current Poet Laureate is doing a fantastic job, being relevant, accessible, clever and amusing as her recent poem about the ash cloud shows. She knows how to connect with the people.

Silver Lining by Carol Ann Duffy

Five miles up, the hush and shoosh of ash,

yet the sky is as clean as a wiped slate-

I could write my childhood there. Selfish

to sit in this garden, listening to the past-

a gentleman bee wooing its flower, a lawnmower-

when grounded planes mean ruined plans, holidays

on hold, sore absences from weddings, funerals,

wingless commerce.

But Britain’s birds

sing in this spring, from Inverness to Liverpool,

from Crieff to Cardiff, Oxford, London Town,

Land’s End to John O’ Groats; the music silence summons,

that Shakespeare heard, Burns, Edward Thomas; briefly, us.

Author: Sarah

No time to lose. No, time to lose. Make time to stand and stare.... Did you see that?

51 thoughts on “Any thoughts for Poetry Chair?”

  1. Way over my head, I’m afraid, doesn’t rhyme or scan and there’s nothing to shout about in the language either – back to the nursery for me.

  2. We are all different Bravo22c and appreciate different things. Just as well really.

  3. Nope, it doesn’t float my boat either. In fact, there are several authors both here and on MyT who can write much better pomes, IMHO. How much are we paying La Duffer?

    OZ

  4. I’m not really au fait with any of the contenders this time Nym.

    I had at least heard of Carol Ann Duffy. I am not a great fan of hers, but I’m not a great fan of modern poetry. I think that’s my fault though. I don’t dislike this one as much as some of her others; at least it is topical.

  5. My point exactly, Ara:

    Araminta :

    I’m not really au fait with any of the contenders this time Nym.

    I had at least heard of Carol Ann Duffy.

    Hey ho

  6. I know Michael Horovitz, and he has devoted his life to poetry as he says. A really decent guy, who certainly needs the benefits that the post offers.

  7. I’m with Bravo and OZ on this… I’m of the school of thought that does not consider that a list of words loosely strung together can be called poetry.

  8. i kind of like it.

    yet the sky is as clean as a wiped slate-

    I could write my childhood there. Selfish

    to sit in this garden, listening to the past-

  9. boadicea :

    I’m with Bravo and OZ on this… I’m of the school of thought that does not consider that a list of words loosely strung together can be called poetry.

    Boa, try beating out the rhythm – it’s impressive; by no means loosely strung together. Btw ancient Greeek and Roman poetry was all about metre and rhythm – no nice rhymes at all; in fcat people danced while the poets held forth.

  10. Janus: I’m really a mathematician in disguise… I’ve never worked out whether I gave up on Eng. Lit. at 14 or it gave up on me – either way, I don’t expect anyone to take what I say in the way of ‘literary’ opinion one bit seriously.

    Interesting what you said about Greek and Roman poetry and dance.

  11. What is the point of the Chair of Poetry in Oxford? How is it relevant to the person in the street, if at all?

  12. janh1 :

    What is the point of the Chair of Poetry in Oxford? How is it relevant to the person in the street, if at all?

    No point at all, and totally irrelevant to most people. However, the day society stops doing things because the ‘majority’ don’t like or understand them is, in my opinion, the day society must stop calling itself ‘civilised’.

  13. Hi, Pseu.

    Not normally a great fan of her work and she is, after all is said and done, a Weegie by birth.

    But I like this one. As Janus says it has a good rhythm and I particularly like ‘the music silence summons’. Not sure about the need to have so many balanced ‘British ‘references – 3 Scottish placenames, 3 English, 1 Welsh and 1 Cornish plus an English poet, a Scots one and an Anglo-Welsh one.

    Anyhow, having read all the candidate statements, I would definitely vote for Stephen Moss, if I had a vote, for his last line. ‘Can we win it? YES WE SCAN.’

  14. janh1 :

    What is the point of the Chair of Poetry in Oxford? How is it relevant to the person in the street, if at all?

    Janh1, I’m surprised at you! The Labour gubmint asked the same question about many live academic subjects which struck it as similarly irrelevant to the life of the bus-borne Clapham chappie – and started to deny them funding. Luckily private initiatives will always step in to avoid philistine decisions by populist regimes.

  15. I take your point, Boadicea but at the same time, I think it’s a shame if it IS merely an elitist and middle-class post. If so, why on earth should I waste one second thinking about it?

  16. 😀 I merely ask questions, Janus. I’m not saying it shouldn’t exist. I’m asking what it’s about first and then I might wonder if it should be more relevant… 😉

  17. janh1 :

    I take your point, Boadicea but at the same time, I think it’s a shame if it IS merely an elitist and middle-class post. If so, why on earth should I waste one second thinking about it?

    Janh1, to answer your question: because your terms ‘elitist’ and ‘middle class’ are labels which only philistines use!

  18. G’Morgen, Janus. Nope. I still can’t make it scan. I tried. God knows, I tried.

    Sob!

    She should have written in grammatically correct iambic pentameters like wot Homer done, then it would of been cushty.

    As any fule kno!

    😀

    OZ

  19. O Zangado :

    G’Morgen, Janus. Nope. I still can’t make it scan. I tried. God knows, I tried.

    Sob!

    Don’t worry OZ, I struggled too – and got precisely nowhere!

  20. Aaarrghhh! He’s found a computeramable.

    Good morning, Bearsy, Sir.

    We’re all behaving, honest.

    Ears erect and tail standing to attention.

    OZ

  21. I expect there might be a few Chairs at Oxford not immediately relevant to the man in the street, but the fact that they exist is Oxford’s business. I like “Silver Lining”. It has a very gentle rhythm and I love the “gentleman bee wooing his flower”. The whole work – even without iambic pentameters – appears very relevant, particularly the “ruined plans” and the “sore absences”.

  22. For my penny’s worth I would have been more selective where British Birds sing and would not have included Liverpool ha ha.

  23. Janus, I like Betjeman as well though. Poetry is so subjective; everyone has their own opinion. I find it hard to agree with Bearsy’s use of the word “pretentious” in this instance. That word always reminds me of some of P.G. Wodehouse’s characters. He could be very funny about writers of poetry and prose who took themselves too seriously.

  24. With the greatest respect, I think you’re mistaken about that Janus. 😉 Unless there’s a special philistines-only section of the dictionary I’ve never noticed.

  25. janh1 :

    With the greatest respect, I think you’re mistaken about that Janus. ;-) Unless there’s a special philistines-only section of the dictionary I’ve never noticed.

    Janh1, I mean in the context of academic subjects such labels are inappropriate since they refer to perceived values outside academia.

  26. Afternoon all.

    If I may be excused a little boast….
    I’m quite excited as I have just come home from work and opened up my email to discover I have won a second prize in a poetry competition! Yippeee!

  27. Good news, Nym! Congratulations! 😀

    A new poem, or one you have posted on MyT?

  28. Good morning Pseu

    Well done, congratulations https://i0.wp.com/planetsmilies.net/happy-smiley-541.gif

    (a word of caution, if you publish it here and it is published elsewhere a simple google could of course pair them up and reveal your identity!)

  29. Thank you Soutie for your wise words. Very good Janus!

    I have so far had only an email notification, saying the cheque is in the post, no idea if any constraints on publishing here, but it will go in their publication.

  30. Pseu –
    Congratulations on your poetic success.
    To answer your question, I regret to say that I am unacquainted with the works of any of those on the shortlist, mentioned here:
    http://www.ox.ac.uk/media/news_stories/2010/100507_1.html
    I must confess to a rather sinking feeling when reading that “The wide-ranging list of candidates includes well-known names from the worlds of poetry, drama and the visual arts.” Call me old-fashioned, but I would hope that the Oxford Professor of Poetry would be either a poet themselves, or an academic who has specialised in the study of poetry.

  31. I hope we’ll be able to see you soon, Squarepeg… you show on the dashboard as awaiting moderation,

  32. I believe you can actually approve Squarepeg’s comment on your post, Nym. Although she will have to wait for Bearsy or Boadicea to give her author status.

    If you hover over the comment on your dashboard you will see how.

  33. Thank you Ara, I didn’t know that.
    I have approved Squarepeg on this thread!
    Nice to see you.

  34. I agree Squarepeg,

    ssquarepeg :

    Pseu –
    … I would hope that the Oxford Professor of Poetry would be either a poet themselves, or an academic who has specialised in the study of poetry.

Add your Comment

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s