The was an old poet from Flite...

I’m writing a poetry course. It’s fascinating work and I’m learning a lot of ideas and techniques that are being fed back into my poems. I did publish my poems in a separate, anonymous blog for a while but took them down before anyone I knew found them. I have two very harsh critics of my own work, one of them is writing this. If I can get something past both of them it’s a good day.

BBC Radio 4 has introduced a new series called ‘Poetry Workshop’ which is described as a landmark series that “taps into the excitement and pleasures of writing and reading poetry”. I love poetry. To me it’s a wonderful, mind altering drug that, unlike some mind altering drugs, doesn’t leave you naked in an allotment at 5:00am. I like to read a poem and savour it, like a shot of good whisky. ‘Poetry Workshop’ should be my cup of herbal tea but it left me dazzlingly uninterested.

Part of the problem might be that the medium is wrong. Poetry on the radio doesn’t work for me. You can’t linger over a line, or control the pace of a poem because you’re not in control. You can’t see the shape of it or appreciate an enjambment (if it’s a rare example of an enjambment that’s worth making). The whole half hour sounded like a group of detail obsessed, middle class academics picking at the bones of a possibly beautiful but definitely dead animal. I don’t like this and I am a detail obsessed, middle class academic.

Is it possible to have a programme on poetry that appeals to a wider range of folk, that isn’t dumbed down or elitist? I don’t know, but I’m going to try and make one.


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