Monday, December 07, 2009

Poetry is rubbish 2: Impeach Duffy

Is it possible to impeach a Poet Laureate? Read Carol Ann Duffy’s 12 Days of Christmas effort and weep. This is probably the worst verse of a pretty shocking bunch:

bankers' profits fired in greed.

The second ring outshone the sun,
fuelled by carbon, doused by none.

Ring three was black gold, O for oil –
a serpent swallowing its tail.

The fourth ring was Celebrity;
Fool's Gold, winking on TV.

Ring five, religion's halo, slipped –
a blind for eyes or gag for lips.

Capitalism, oil, warmenism, s’lebs and some anti-religionism. Elsewhere there’s a lot of the old soldier-as-victim routine.

This is ‘poetry’ as a set of banal soundbites from the student section of the Question Time audience. It’s poetry about ishoos.

The Laureate’s job is to write about Britain. Britain is not made of issues, it is made of people and places and things and time. If you can’t find something worthwhile or memorable to write about in there, then don’t take the post. Anyone could write this kind of ishoos crap from outside the Laureateship. And they do, mostly as GCSE coursework.

Duffy is abusing the post. The Impeachment campaign starts here.


Gaw said...

To make some couplets rhyme but not to bother with others, seemingly at random, is a bit lazy.

Brit said...

She could easily write full rhyming couplets because she's a talented wordsmith, but that's not the game. You've got to carefully uglify it. Make some of them half eye-rhymes (oil/tail etc). That's why nobody likes poetry: this crippling, stifling myth prevails that it is no longer possible to write something which is pleasing, popular and profound all at the same time.

I've tried but there seems to be no way of reading "The fourth ring was Celebrity; Fool's Gold, winking on TV" which doesn't sound horrible.

malty said...

Brit, read it out loud in the voice of Pam Ayres, it eases the pain.

The Old Batsman said...

Get Steve Bruce.

worm said...

reminds me of the fairy godmother's introduction to every panto I've ever seen, except less funny.

Willard said...

No doubt about it: that is poetry that does indeed reflect our culture.

David said...

And it could have been so much better:

Three Rings for the Bankier-kings in their crypt,
Seven for the exploiters in their museum halls,
Nine for the soldier man, doomed to die,
One for the puppet king on his dark throne
In the Land of Texas where the Shadows lie.
One Ring to they all rule, One Ring to find them,
One Ring to bring them all and in the darkness bind them
In the Land of Texas where the Shadows lie.

Gaw said...

Never mind. Looks like CAD doesn't subscribe to Google Alerts (she was also busy tonight presenting the Turner Prize: an appropriate pairing perhaps). You were hoping to make another friend weren't you?

malty said...

Just watched the wee lass, in her element, presenting a prize to a bloke wot had done art.

dogimo said...


smartart said...

Our poetry group writes in a wide range of styles. We are, collectively, at a loss to understand why Duffy's Laureations are of merit, or why Andrew Marr thinks they are FAB. I have asked him to come and explain.