Archive for November, 2006

final redundancy.

As a closing note on the influence of art, poetry in this case, and its political and other influences, I have found an article from PIW, Can Poetry Be Political?, November 2002.

Irish poet, Joe Woods, is cited in the article arguing that ‘all poetry is sexual, religious, political, or anything that moves people or societies’. Perhaps not all poetry is going to fit this criteria, but certainly it should. Another writer, K. Michel, is given as saying ‘that poetry is always something more than any of these things, and that “something more” happens to be poetry.’

The article raises some interesting questions and makes no definitive argument for or against the influence of art. The decision of art-for-arts-sake over art as a moral indicator is left to the readers discretion.


notes: PIW, Can poetry be political?
The Whitbread (now called Costa) Book Award Shotlist (Not related to the article but still news worthy) Feeling more like a blog editor than a contributor. Back soon, I hope. -pb.


my own redundant verse

My reply to Imani has been playing on my mind since this morning and I have had a change of heart. I do need to know that what I write has some sort of purpose, not necessarily political, but a purpose.

I am under no illusions as to the greater political influence that poetry has, or the lack of, as is the case argued in the previous post. I do not aim to set the worlds politics on its head with my writing. But art is a purpose in itself. The aesthetic aim to write something that is well crafted, and lasting to a reader. I believe that that is a purpose for all art.

There are other purposes for art and many different ideas on what a purpose is. Imani, do you mean poetry, and all other creative writing, should have no purpose whatsoever?

Continue reading ‘my own redundant verse’

redundant verse?

For my inaugural post on poetbloggs I’m going back to the very beginning. Before a pen has even been picked up. Before a thought or a line has even been dreamt of. I am going to ask the question, what good is it?

Has poetry passed it’s sell-by-date so to speak?

An article from Adrienne Rich last weekend (18th November) quotes heavily from Shelley and his ideas of poetry as a way into revolution. Shelley’s claimed that ‘poets are the unacknowledged legislators of the world’. And perhaps, at the time, Shelley had a point. People read poetry, and listened to what it said then. (People still read poetry; perhaps they are just not listening anymore).

Rich considers what she calls the ‘free market critique of poetry’ in the article;

Poetry has been written-off on other counts: it’s not a mass-market “product”, it doesn’t get sold on airport newsstands or in supermarket aisles; it’s too “difficult” for the average mind; it’s too elite, but the wealthy don’t bid for it at Sotheby’s; it is, in short, redundant.”

And later reveals her view, the romantic outlook. A view that is becoming more and more redundant, if the free market critique is to be believed.

When poetry lays its hand on our shoulder we are, to an almost physical degree, touched and moved. The imagination’s roads open before us, giving the lie to that brute dictum, “There is no alternative”.”

In truth, both are correct. Poetry has got that effect. At some point in every reader’s life they will be touched by a work. It might not be a famous piece, but it will remain with the reader for life. Poetry however no longer has the power to overthrow corrupt governments or turn economies on their heads.

There is a reason it is not sold on newsstands in airports. People don’t read poetry for advice on living their day-to-day lives. Or who to vote for in the next local election. Literature has taken a new place with readers. And poetry didn’t move with the rest of the art. Fiction has become the major player in influencing thought, and most of that influence comes from being made in to a movie.

When was the last time a poem made the cut for a multi-million pound deal on the silver screen?

What am I getting at? I am posing the question of, why write it at all? Does it serve another purpose to the reader? To society? Or is Rich right when she says

There is always that in poetry which will not be grasped, which cannot be described, which survives our ardent attention, our critical theories, our late-night arguments.’’

Has poetry still got a purpose?


Continue reading ‘redundant verse?’


Just an introduction before I start to make a larger mark on the blog. I have agreed to take up a regular gig to get ideas generating. I’m adding a quick note about me here and a link to my own blog, plasticpoetics.

Born in 1964, Fournier has worked as an editor, a farmer, a taxi driver, an accountant, a bouncer, a gigolo, a nurse, a waiter, a gangster, a drug dealer, a goal keeper, an hotel concierge, an actor, a photographer, a painter, a consultant, a tennis coach, a diplomat, a lecturer, a designer, a bartender, a delivery guy, a translator, a copywriter and a lap dancer. He has been published in journals and anthologies.

The lap dancer part might be a slight exaggeration but the rest is close to being accurate. Looking forward to having some serious debate on here.


In an attempt to revive the blog, and encourage increased posting, I have invited a guest blogger to join poetbloggs. Poet George Fournier has agreed to post regularly on topics relating to the arts, poetry and literature. That leaves me ‘amongst other things’ and the podcast. – pb