Thursday, March 29, 2007

A Squabble of Poets

The poetry café is happening again tomorrow. Last month it kicked off to a good start and I’m looking forward to the next, excited, slightly nervous, hoping the guest poet and musician turn up. Word has got about and it seems that poetry is something people want to make time for. But there is always a serpent in the Garden, isn’t there? Not the deadly kind perhaps but, you know, just something that makes you keep having to look down and watch where you put your foot. In this case it’s the worm of political (poetical) correctness, which has no place in poetry. Or does it? I am sure of nothing. I and the few others who are responsible for organising the Café have given ourselves a name which some people are objecting to either because they don’t get that it is playful and ironic or because they think that irony has no place. I have some sympathy, I am sick of the endless pastiche that masquerades as post-modern when what we need is real words, real stories – bread. But on the other hand I’m not on a mission to save the world, I’m doing this for fun as much as anything else and think our title is fun, energetic and (here’s a clue) arresting. For another clue look here. And we have already been talent-spotted by the county town library to organise a gig there on the strength of the name alone.

The problem is that one of “us” has now become uncomfortable with the name. He is a wordsmith of the highest order and doesn’t take words lightly, though I am trying to persuade him to do just that – to wear the name lightly and this, I think, will “redeem” it. We’ll see. He also has a problem with seeing us described in promotional literature as “a group of poets”. I am trying to meet him in this by thinking up a new collective noun. A pride of poets might be good, but the lions already have that and the larks have exultation; an apology; a posse; Feel free to offer suggestions.

13 comments:

goodthomas said...

Ah, the weight of words. Obviously, I do not know the name but I will follow you, and side with you, of course.

I find it curious that lovers of words can have this squabble -- knowing the weight of a word, the heaviness, the power of the word, but also forgetting (or neglecting) the true agility of a word, to be playful and fun and agile. To love a word, shouldn't we love it in all its forms?

I like Squabble and I like Pride a great deal.

The Moon Topples said...

I like apology of poets.

Or maybe a prose of poets.

Other suggestions might (or might not) include a ream, a verse (or stanza, but these are both a bit on the nose), a leaf, a purse or an angst.

Please have a lovely day.

Reading the Signs said...

Thank you goodthomas and mr. moon.

I am enjoying these, each being a window of new possibility. Looking forward to tonight and hoping for a refreshment of poets. Ha!

nmj said...

Lordy, I am no poet, but what's wrong with a GROUP OF POETS? I think your man has to lighten up, give him some wine, Signs. But I do love Mr Moon's 'angst of poets'. Do you think poets have more angst than non-poetry writers? But then again, I can worry about a comma for a week, so I really should just stay hushed!

Reading the Signs said...

we had wine, nmj, and all was fine - apart from an open mic poet who was wasn't allowed all the time he would have liked and thus felt insulted. Poets are lovely - unless they are being awful.

Reading the Signs said...

But I will think more about your question and perhaps put something up about it.

That's so pants said...

How about a pretension of poets? (meant ironically, obviously)

Reading the Signs said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Reading the Signs said...

yes, probably.

Reading the Signs said...

or just a tension of poets and never mind the pre.

Ros Barber said...

It was decided amongst a group of friends several years ago now that the definitive collective noun was a wank of poets. Though I'm rather drawn to someone else's suggestion of an apology.

That poetry police thing really started something with you, didn't it. I've got moons and hearts and even souls in my poems, but for goodness' sake don't tell anyone.

Reading the Signs said...

I am so relieved that there is a definitive collective noun (wank it is, then) and that you were part of the group that decided it. But in the end I go with Mr. Moon's idea of poets being changeable - and so the noun can be whatever we say it is in the moment.

(I won't breathe a word, honest).

Reading the Signs said...

Ros, for the whole picture, Mr. Moon put up a post about it on his site having lain awake at night thinking about it.