There’s been a meme (is it a meme, not sure) doing the rounds on the Twitters in the last couple of weeks that asks participants to name 3 recurring themes in their work. You then tag in other folks and get them to do the same.
I was tagged in this week by Matthew Paul.
I was pleased to be tagged in, but also it struck the absolute fear in me, worrying about whether I can answer the question. Emma managed to reply the same day, and I’ve managed to spend all week prevaricating and pondering on it. And not because I wanted to write about it here, but because I genuinely don’t know if I know the answer. I’ve been looking up and down the poems I have that have been published and those that are “waiting for a home” and keep drawing a blank, bupkis, nada, zilch or the old goose egg…
While I think Matthew is being slightly flippant with his choices— his work is infinitely deeper and more varied than he makes it out to be as you will, of course, know, having bought The Evening Entertainment, obvs—I did, and still do, find myself asking if should I be able to answer this without thinking? Am I over-thinking it?
I don’t think I’m being pretentious and blah-di-dah about it, all I couldn’t possibly reduce my work to three words, etc, but I am struggling with it. I’ve never felt the need to sit down and work out what my poetics are, perhaps this is a sign I should…just as soon as I work out what it means.
However, as I write this I think I’ve managed to work out the answer. I’m going with the following.
1. Moments of frailty
3. Inanimate Objects finding/Getting a voice
Apologies to anyone that actually reads this, but you are at least witness to Twitter in action, as it would be unfair to post this here without replying on Twitter, so…hang on…
The tricky thing now, I think, having worked this out (and getting beyond the idea that it’s based on anything more than a snapshot) is will I now notice these things more and stop doing them? Should I notice these things more? And should I stop doing them? Oh god…I need a rest.
Anyhoo, enough of this flim-flammery.
Now that it looks unlikely that I will be going back to work in any normal sense, certainly not before March, I’ve got comfortable with the idea of having a home office. I’ve shifted my poetry mags up there and a few reference books, and on top of the shelf sits this trophy.
I put it there because I hadn’t worked out where to put it (if that makes sense) and just haven’t found a moment to give it a proper home. However, at least three times this week I’ve been asked about it by people on various work-related Google Hangouts or Zoom calls.
I won it back when I was in my early 20s, home from University (nearly left this as Uni and would have had to hit myself in the face) and still living back with my parents. I may have moved out and into Norwich by then and commuted back at the weekend for games, but it’s irrelevant. Or is it? I spent a couple of summers playing cricket for my local village team. I enjoyed the camaraderie of being around these menfolk, all in their 30s and beyond and all the usual trappings of amateur sport, the teas, the sitting around, the jokes, etc…
I was crap at cricket. I had a batting average of 0.5 in the ’99 season. I was usually stationed at Fine Leg or Deep Square (or my favourite name, Just Backwards of Square – this also gives me my musical choice for later) to keep me away from the action when fielding. This wasn’t helpful, given that I couldn’t throw very far.
However, I could bowl a little bit of spin, although I had no idea of what would happen with the ball once it left my right hand. While the batsmen didn’t either, neither did the wicketkeeper.
(As an aside, the wickie was a lovely man by the name of John Edge. Our local bobby/Busy, he was a Scouser, and was nicknamed, with true panache and consideration, Edgey—somewhat ironic for a wicketkeeper, I think).
Despite bamboozling myself and Edgey, it did help sometimes to get batsmen out. MY favourite was a chap close to his 100 against us. Our fast (and good) bowlers had struggled against him. I think I was the Fuck it, why not option for the captain. Long story short time, I got him out. And if memory serves, it was before he reached his tonne. I very much enjoyed the time in the pub later.
So it was particularly lovely to see this poem in the latest Rialto by Oliver Comins. Please note there are many, many other excellent poems in the new Rialto (and an excellent couple of interviews), but for now we will focus on this one.
I loved Oliver’s Oak Fish Island and have been enjoying seeing his new work come out across the mags and sites, etc, but this one, alongside the questions about the cup, triggered the happy memory. I wasn’t quite in 8fer territory. I may have managed 3 once, but I certainly recognise the ‘all-night grin’.
And now that I’ve realised that Matthew’s original tweet mentioned Cricket and that I’ve been talking about cricket here—by accident, not by design, I can pat myself on the back and stop.
THE WEEK IN STATS
6k running – Lower, again, this week due to still having what I think is hamstring knack…
2 days of a new 7-minute workout. I will build this up, but it’s a start. Hamstring knack is killing my motivation
1 evening in with a mate that was most enjoyable
2 x rejections: Stand and Marble Poetry
1 poem finished – Was called ‘Buttered Dogs’, but isn’t now
3 poems worked on. ‘Tea Breaks’, ‘Hatton Garden’ and ‘Schröedinger’s Catch’
1 day without cigarettes…
1 more week that I’m not having an affair with Eva Green
Quiet Fire (thanks to my wife for that one)
Oh The Huge Manatee
Philip Glass: Symphonies 3 & 8, Early Works 1969 -70
AdriAnne Lenker: Abysskiss
Smashing Pumpkins :Confessions of a Dopamine Addict EP
John Hiatt: Slug Line
Kath Bloom: Bye Bye These Are The Days
Suzanne Vaille: Love Live Where Rules Die
Susanne Sundfør: The Sillicone Veil
Tall Ships: Impressions, Everything Touching, There Is Nothing But Chemistry Here
Fairport Convention: Full House, ST
The Family Cat: Magic Happens
Followed By Ghosts: The Entire City Was Silent
Four Ten:Live At Funkhaus, Berlin 2018
R.E.M.: Around The Sun, Fables of the Reconstruction
Rachel’s: Selenography, Music For Egon Schiele
New Order: Power, Corruption & Lies
The Tallest Man In The World: The Wild Hunt
Robbie Basho: Venus In Cancer
Sonic Boom: All Things Being Equal
OSEES: Levitation Sessions
Kevin Morby: City Music, Harlem River, Oh My God, Singing Saw
The Last Dinosaur: Untitled Piece for Piano and Viola, Hooray! For Happiness
Working Men’s Club: ST
Margo Price: All American Made
Sun Ra & His Arkestra: Holiday For Soul Dance
Hangouts/Video Calls/Zoom/Etc (not for work)
None this week
Battlestar Galactica S2 E7-13
Selling Sunset S3
The London Marathon – well done to Emma, Rufus and Euan
Grandbag’s Funeral Ep5: NoseyBonk At Chinawhites
Socks from Jollies
Alex MacDonald – Delicious All Day
Derek Mahon – Selected Poems
Dark Horse 42