This poetry video from Britain is called ‘The Privatisation of Air‘, written and performed by Paul Lester.
By Andy Croft in Britain:
The radical impulse and the insurrection of poetry
Monday 01 July 2013
21st century poetry
At the heart of Alan Morrison‘s new collection Blaze a Vanishing/The Tall Skies (Waterloo Press, £10) is a long poem about the history of working-class and radical writing from the 18th century to the present: “the poetry which, against all hope in times passed,/Howled out at the prowl of the wolf at the door … impossible blossoms of song discharged from glands/Of damp and dark; stubborn shrubs miraculously sprouting/Amongst frugal fauna on trickling walls in freezing garrets/And melting slums.”
Morrison is one of our most original young poets and one of our most distinctive critics and editors – he edited the anti-coalition poetry anthologies Emergency Verse and The Robin Hood Book: Verses Versus Austerity – and his new book should soon take its place in the radical tradition he is celebrating.
Its first half is a study in Swedish landscape, history and culture from Ingmar Bergman, Alfred Nobel and Emanuel Swedenborg to Tove Jansson, focusing on early 20th-century working class writers like Harry and Moa Martinson, Dan Andersson and Ivar-Lo Johansson, a socialist who wrote to encourage “ordinary working men/To graduate from hand to brain; fuse the anvil with the page.”
From the poems, pamphlets and political tracts of the English civil war to the poetry of the “ill-equipped and corduroyed brigades” of the Spanish civil war, Morrison traces the history of the quiet suppression of dissident literary traditions by the canons of Eng Lit and “the supreme cultural power against/the straining voices of the songful poor: the power to ignore.” Powerful and original stuff.
It would take a hard heart to ignore the appeals of Chrys Salt‘s new book Home Front/Front Line (Roncadora, £8).
Published to mark the 10th anniversary of the 2003 invasion of Iraq, it’s an extraordinary and moving dialogue in poetry and prose between the poet and her son, a Territorial Army paratrooper who in that year spent five months in Iraq with the 7th Royal Horse Artillery.
It is a brave, beautiful and deeply unsettling way of making the reader look again at long-familiar events, as though the mother of Wilfred Owen or Edward Thomas had kept a verse diary during the first world war.
The book proceeds by way of a series of contrasts. The soldier’s letters from Iraq – “It’s like an episode of Mash out here … Thanks for the sunglasses. I’m missing beer. We killed a goat!” – are counterpointed by the poems of an anxious mother back in Galloway: “And beyond the long horizon/men, massing with their guns./Fathers, husbands, boyfriends, lovers,/other men’s sons.”
Salt remembers her son as a baby: “Skin soft as rabbits/kicking against my palm/with lickable, buttery toes.”
But she also thinks about the Iraqi children whose deaths are just so much collateral damage: “Children burned alive in the bent/wreckage of a car. A hand blown/from a wrist. Splashed brains. Backs broken.”
The book moves in two directions at once. As the soldier writes home about the poor food, the inhospitable desert and his sense of pride in helping to “rebuild” Iraq, his mother cannot contain her helpless rage at the appalling contradiction of a war in which “they blow off both [a child’s] arms, then offer a prosthesis.”
The book bursts into the concluding rant of The Insurrection Of Poetry: “Listen/you tyrants, murderers,/fundamentalists, mutilators,/rapists, occupiers,/racists, persecutors,/autocrats, crucifiers,/fanatics, torturers, liars,/obfuscators, manipulators,/warmongers/silencers/Listen!/Poems all over the world/are saying/ENOUGH!”
- British poetry in opposition (dearkitty1.wordpress.com)
- Guest Blog: What is Poetry? by The Ranting Papizilla (legendsofwindemere.com)
- Poetry #1 (afairlie16.wordpress.com)
- Poetry: Green is for Go (clarabelle.org)
- Meeting Sonnet Mondal- The Poet got Featured in Fox Cry Review in Winter Edition 2013 (samatawelcomesyou.wordpress.com)