POETRY, POLITICS, PROVOCATION AND POPULAR CULTURE SINCE 2005 - 16 YEARS AND over 4 million visits - British Library-archived
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The Scottish For Yes
The news is startling if inspiring: Scotland's greatest modern poet, Edwin Morgan, has left a million pounds to the SNP, for the campaign for an independent Scotland. Poetry Has Made Something Happen? Hopefully.
When you open your mouth to speak, are you smart? A funny question from a great song, but also, a good one, when it comes to poets, and poetry. We tend to have a very ambiguous view of intelligence in poetry, one that I'd say is dysfunctional. Basically, it goes like this: once you are safely dead, it no longer matters how smart you were. For instance, Auden was smarter than Yeats , but most would still say Yeats is the finer poet; Eliot is clearly highly intelligent, but how much of Larkin 's work required a high IQ? Meanwhile, poets while alive tend to be celebrated if they are deemed intelligent: Anne Carson, Geoffrey Hill , and Jorie Graham , are all, clearly, very intelligent people, aside from their work as poets. But who reads Marianne Moore now, or Robert Lowell , smart poets? Or, Pound ? How smart could Pound be with his madcap views? Less intelligent poets are often more popular. John Betjeman was not a very smart poet, per se. What do I mean by smart?
In terms of great films about, and of, love, we have Vertigo, In The Mood for Love , and Casablanca , Doctor Zhivago , An Officer and a Gentleman , at the apex; as well as odder, more troubling versions, such as Sophie's Choice and Silence of the Lambs . I think my favourite remains Bram Stoker's Dracula , with the great immortal line "I have crossed oceans of time to find you...".
Eyewear is delighted to welcome Sampurna Chattarji (pictured) this Friday. Born in Dessie, Ethiopia in 1970, Chattarji is an award-winning poet, fiction writer and translator. Her books include The Greatest Stories Ever Told (fiction) and Abol Tabol: The Nonsense World of Sukumar Ray (translation) both published by Penguin India. Her poetry has featured on Hong Kong Radio; in the international documentary Voices in Wartime ; in First Proof: The Penguin Book of New Writing from India 2 ; Fulcrum Four: Fifty-six Indian Poets (1951-2005) and Imagining Ourselves , an anthology released by the International Museum of Women (IMOW) in San Francisco; as well as in Indian and international journals such as Wasafiri, nthposition, Slingshot, The Little Magazine and Chandrabhaga . Sampurna is an Executive Committee Member of the PEN All-India Centre, Mumbai, and on the Editorial Board of its journal, Penumbra . Her first book of poems Sight May Strike You Blind has been published (January