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Thursday, 1 January 2009

Nothing Changes on New Year's Day

If U2 are to be believed, New Year's Day is a little like poetry making nothing happen (why not begin 2009 with a cliche?) - and yet, of course, the ambiguity in that line of theirs: "nothing changes on New Year's Day" is a clever one: the lover's love remains, just as the world (underway) is ongoing in its beauty and its terror. So, both love and evil do not change, so much as calibrate their relationship, even as the years go by.

Eyewear wants to wish you, dear reader(s), the best possible of years ahead, in the full knowledge that war, credit crisis, environmental degradation, mass unemployment, and general despair are in pretty full swing just about now (as in Gaza currently). As poets and readers, we have an especially challenging task - to maintain some form of literate communion with the past, while innovating responsibly for the future (and the present). I was recently in a bookshop that had no poetry books for sale (well, one).

That's not a good sign. The Internet has both empowered poets and readers, by linking them, well below and above the establishment-marketing-machine - and fragmented them, too. The virtual world corrodes the import of the printed and spoken (live) word even as it makes it hugely omnipresent. I find that many of my students rarely read books now - they go direct to the screen, to "text".

The past, the Tradition, is thinning out - and whether it is being replaced by healthy traditions, well, that remains to be seen. So, these ephemeral blogs we make, and share, are both contributing to the bulwarks shoring against ruin, but just may be the shell-blasts of a new period, too. I'll write my 2008 Swift report in the next few weeks. For now, try and get some peace.
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