Skip to main content

Ubiquitous Armitage

Simon Armitage (left) has been everywhere this week-end, in the British media - a genuine blitz. He was the cover story for the Guardian's Weekend magazine - he's founded a new band, at age 44, with an old friend, and they're The Scaremongers. Okay, suitably Gitmo-zeitgeist. And then, on the BBC flagship morning radio show, Today, at around 8.25 (today), he popped up, not to sing a few Scaremonger tunes, but to read a new poem, "The Not Dead" I believe it was titled, all about how veterans of the current wars have been let down by Britannia, and feel like awkward ghosts in ordinary towns. Okay, that may not be Ivor Gurney stuff, but it packed a punch, and is for a very good cause - the soldiers are bearing the brunt of shame better levelled at Blair (and the voters who allowed Iraq to happen) - and receiving few benefits for their patriotism and sense of duty. Armitage is one of the best, and most prolific, of the mainstream poets of his generation, and it is good to see him getting so much airplay, but there is a new generation or two now coming up, those in their 30s, and those in their 20s, exemplified by the other new media darlings, Daljit Nagra and Luke Kennard (up for 2007 Forwards in two different categories, Kennard poised to be the prodigal Dylan Thomas/ Auden of his age, especially if he wins, stay tuned). In the UK, to be on the poetry map, it seems you have to be on the radio, telly, or in a paper. Those who mainly just read and write poems can end up feeling pretty ghostly too - the silent majority of poets. And what is it with poets and bands, anyway? There's Puggy Hammer in Montreal, Paul Muldoon's group, and now Armitage's, and I have no doubt there are many, many others. Can't imagine Wallace Stevens was in a band, but if he had been, it might have been The Keener Demarcations. Yeah, dig those ghostlier sounds.
2 comments

Popular posts from this blog

DANGER, MAN

Like a crazed killer clown, whether we are thrilled, horrified, shocked, or angered (or all of these) by Donald Trump, we cannot claim to be rid of him just yet. He bestrides the world stage like a silverback gorilla (according to one British thug), or a bad analogy, but he is there, a figure, no longer of fun, but grave concern.

There has long been a history of misogynistic behaviour in American gangster culture - one thinks of the grapefruit in the face in The Public Enemy, or Sinatra throwing a woman out of his hotel room and later commenting he didn't realise there was a pool below to break her fall, or the polluted womb in Pacino'sScarface... and of course, some gangsta rap is also sexist.  American culture has a difficult way with handling the combined aspects of male power, and male privilege, that, especially in heteronormative capitalist enclaves, where money/pussy both become grabbable, reified objects and objectives (The Wolf of Wall Street for instance), an ugly fus…

AMERICA PSYCHO

According to the latest CBS, ABC, etc, polls, Clinton is still likely to beat Trump - by percentile odds of 66% to 33% and change. But the current popular vote is much closer, probably tied with the error of margin, around 44% each. Trump has to win more key battleground states to win, and may not - but he is ahead in Florida...

We will all know, in a week, whether we live in a world gone madder, or just relatively mad.

While it seems likely calmer heads will prevail, the recent Brexit win shows that polls can mislead, especially when one of the options is considered a bit embarrassing, rude or even racist - and Trump qualifies for these, at least.

If 42-45% of Americans admit they would vote for Trump, what does that say about the ones not so vocal? For surely, they must be there, as well. Some of the undecided will slide, and more likely they will slide to the wilder and more exciting fringe candidate. As may the libertarians.

Eyewear predicts that Trump will just about manage to win th…

SEXTON SHORTLIST!

Announcing the Shortlist for the 2016 Sexton PrizeSeptember 13, 2016 / By Kelly Davio
Eyewear Publishing is pleased to announce the shortlist for the 2016 Sexton Prize. The finalists are, in no particular order, as follows:


THE BARBAROUS CENTURY, Leah Umansky
HISTORY OF GONE, Lynn Schmeidler
SEVERE CLEAR, Maya Catherine Popa
GIMME THAT. DON’T SMITE ME, Steve Kronen
SCHEHERAZADE AND OTHER REDEPLOYMENTS, David McAleavey
AN AMERICAN PURGATORY, Rebecca Gayle Howell
SIT IN THE DARK WITH ME, Jesse Lee Kercheval

The shortlist was selected by Eyewear’s Director Todd Swift with Senior Editor Kelly Davio. Don Share of Poetry Magazine will select the winning manuscript, which will be released at the 2017 AWP conference in Washington, D.C. The winner will be announced in October. 
Congratulations to our finalists!