I thought, on June 24th, that humanity had plumbed the depths of stupidity when the UK voted to leave Europe. How w
rong was I? This week has proved that. In a monumental act of white supreme stupidity, half the voters of USA voted to make Donald J Trump their next president amid promises of building a dividing wall between USA and Mexico and refusing USA entry to Muslims. The fact that he is a self-styled woman abuser– oh, not alleged, he admitted it; it was ‘locker-room talk’, — made no difference. America would rather have a mysogynistic, xenophobic, Christian fundamentalist white supremacist in the White House than a woman. This from the ‘Land of the Free’! Both our referendum and the US presidential election have proved to be the trigger for racist polemic and abuse from extreme right wing groups who saw the election results as giving them permission to put their warped views into practice. Why? Because both elections were won on arguments of ‘us and them’; the perceived and peddled threat of ‘the other’. I am sick; and I am angry; and I fear for the future of humanity. We are a troubled race.
Enough. Humanity is what it is. I have been busy with PhD stuff this week; my studies have dominated my week. I have continued reading Chodorow, skimming those chapters that seem to be less relevant, reading deeply those chapters that resonate. I ordered five books second-hand from Amazon based on Chodorow’s referencing. This reading business never ends! I also finished reading Armitage’s Odyssey. I really enjoyed it but it was also research for my own verse drama.
As far as my verse drama goes, I contacted Amanda Dalton again at the Exchange Theatre. Unfortunately she is off work at the moment so I won’t be able to meet up with her to discuss my drama planning as we first thought. But she has agreed to enter into an email discussion about it, so I sent her an outline and a couple of initial questions about style and stage directions. How kind of her to agree to correspond despite not being so well. The community of poets, eh? I can’t say enough good things about it.
Last night I heard back from the team about the writing I sent them. A much more positive response this time, so that is reassuring. I think I’ll keep going! They have advised me to concentrate on analysing the work of my chosen poets now and come back to this piece of writing when that job is done. I have decided (I think) on Pascale Petit and Selima Hill as my two focus poets. So this week I shall start reading and rereading their work with an eye to my theme.
In my poetry life, I have been invited by Scott Fellowes to read at Black Cat Poets in Denton on Thursday evening. You can find a link to the Black Cats FaceBook page here:
There are open-mic slots available on the night, so do come along if you are in the Denton area, it would be good to have your support. I am also, with lots of poet friends, reading at the Portico Library in Manchester on Friday; just one poem each for the Beautiful Dragons anthology Not a Drop, an anthology of poems about the world’s seas. Beautiful Dragons is a small press which compiles collaborative anthologies, the brain-child of the editor, Rebecca Jane Bilkau. Each poet has just one poem in the anthology, until all the seas of the world are included. My own poem was inspired by the Ionian sea, and the Penelope/Odyssyeus myth. I have included the name of Greek suitors so I must practice before Friday to make sure I get the pronunciations right without stumbling over them; particularly Demoptolemus who tends to get stuck in my molars. So, Portico Library, Friday evening, 6.30 p.m. A huge number of poets in a very short time; real value for money. You can find a link to the Beautiful Dragons FaceBook page here:
In other news, the dishwasher engineer came and declared the circuit boards kaput. Apparently there are two; he couldn’t determine which one has blown so he has ordered both; they (or it?) will be fitted on Monday. It’ll be good to have my old friend back; Fairy liquid definitely doesn’t do what it says on the tin: my hands absolutely do not ‘feel soft as my face’. And that’s a fact.
Saturday marked seventeen weeks since my catastrophic fall. I am happy to report that I am recovering nicely. My back is still sore sometimes, most notably over the left shoulder blade, most often in the morning or following extra activity; and it is difficult to lie on my left side in bed. But mostly I am back to my bouncy, rubber self. I only need a hug from my hot water bottle once in a while. I am thinking I might try my aerobics class soon: that will really be the chequered flag of recovery for me.
Flu jab: sorted. At my local pharmacy. No queuing. In and out in minutes. Brilliant.
A poem: this is the poem that was a winner in the Fermoy International Poetry Competition in 2014 and earned me a long weekend at the Fermoy Poetry Festival. What a wonderful weekend that was. If you see adverts for this competition, do give it a go. A small explanation of the poem: when my sister found her first boyfriend our mother said to her ‘Boys only want you for one thing.’ My sister’s response? ‘Well tell me what it is then, and I’ll give it to them!’ Oops.
Ten Things My Mother Should Have Said To Me
You are every bit as interesting, funny, beautiful
and precious to me as your brother
When I made your brother, I was an apprentice;
by the time I made you, I had perfected my art.
I ate three slices of the Victoria Sponge
you brought home from domestic science.
Boys will love you for the way you consider them your equals.
They will love that you can change a light bulb, fix the car,
redecorate the lounge, cook a nourishing meal and do all this
while reading Ulysses.
Mostly boys will adore you because you have the ability
to make them laugh. And because you are adorable.
Trust your boyfriends, sex will be the last thing on their minds.
When it is on their minds, it will be an expression
of how much they love you for your drive, personality,
intelligent conversation and well developed sense of humour.
Don’t be afraid to show the world you care.
Caring will sometimes cause you pain but don’t worry,
I will always be there to hug the hurt away.
There is no age restriction on hugging.
Hug your children every day. When they are too far away
for a real hug, hug them tight in the arms of your imagination.