I’m currently writing (?two) new poems for the Peter Barlow Not the Election Special next month.
Over Easter I’ve been scratching around for what to write. Although it was great fun to do, I’ve played with writing poetry using political speeches as material before (though not to as good effect as a Tom Jenks piece I heard recently). There are also lots of sampling of politician’s speeches into rap style mash-ups at the moment which (for my practice) preempts any collage type treatments.
So I thought I’d take another approach, and in pushing on with my research project (in progress), I’ve begun exploring oral (and didactic) forms of (Medieval) poetry and of course rhetoric appears in those categories. From my reading so far, I particularly love the concept that poetry acts like song in bewitching the soul of the hearer, which links it to rhetoric which persuades by skill of composition rather than by truth. Magic...
In thinking about how to respond to the themes of politics and elections I have also been reading Susan Stewart’s wonderful book Nonsense. (Need I say more?)
It’s probably apparent that I’m taking a fairly lighthearted (though researched) look at the material I'm drawing on for these pieces even though / perhaps because I live in a staunchly Labour town which is suffering (as many places are) in this recession from lack of employment and opportunity.
But to the poetry. In drawing on an inheritance of oral forms, the first poem (now written) responds to fable as a form and it probably doesn’t give much away to say it’s called ‘The Belly and the Rose Garden’. Monty Don and Kim Yong Il both get a mention in that one.
The second (in progress) is taking inspiration from Nicander’s Alexipharmaca (though I’m struggling to find even excerpts from the text itself available online)...
So, one down and two weeks to go!
As it is, any work on paper is, at the moment, needing to be kept in inaccessible places as we have a recent addition (suitably, it turns out, called Bandit [forefront of photo below]) who likes to edit my work (with teeth). And chew pencils. And nibble fingers...