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Monday, 1 June 2009

Eyewear Is Four Today

Today, blogs seem old hat - almost as antiquated as those phones in Dashiel Hammet movies that you have to pick up and dial. Somewhere along the line of the last year or so, I became middle-aged enough to no longer get the latest innovations in technology. I don't own a Blackberry, an iPhone, and can't tweet or twitter for beans. But I have tried to do something modestly innovative with my blog. Basically, it's a hybrid form, both personal enough to allow some laments for the dead, and hurrahs for the born, and impersonal enough to welcome other voices, guests, and writers, in, from time to time.

If I have had three main aims, they have been to 1) continuously represent an interest in poetry as a global interest, without constant reference to borders and nations; I happen to think that "English poetry" means poetry written in English, regardless of culture of origin, and am as happy to read a poem by Ranjit Hoskote, Patrick Chapman, or Nicole Blackman, as one by someone from the UK or Canada; I also read poems in French, and in translation; I resist the urge, on the part of many in the US and Britain, let's say, to try and make their narratives of what poetry is, or was, the only ones. 2) I try to bridge the worlds of poetry and popular culture, to see if there is a possible intelligent but fun rapprochement possible between them; and 3) I have tried to be a gentle and mostly polite gadfly in London, constantly asking more from those in the media and publishing who claim to speak on or about or for poetry, and instead often, frankly, speak only for particular vested interests.

I've been in the UK almost seven years now, and I am still told I am not a "British" but "Canadian" poet (though I am a landed immigrant). Identity is too complex and interesting to be packaged so narrowly. I will continue to blog over the summer, as best I can, but maybe not as often (but you know me). Last night, I read "The Whitsun Weddings" on Whitsunday, and reflected on the odd fact that almost no one ever notes that the last few lines are not a sunny metaphor only, but also deeply foreboding. The arrow-shower only looks like rain as it falls, but for each of those pierced, the heart feels the full fletcher's art.
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