ON English Readings a short podcast/microlecture on Thomas Hardy’s poem, “Drummer Hodge”.
183 Saturday 12/09/09
RIP Timothy Treadwell
it’s eat, fuck & kill out there
that’s the law
if you mess with bears
they’ll eat you
The final paras of Part 2 of In Parenthesis by David Jones. Private Ball, the protagonist of this Modernist Great War poem, experiences for the first time the blast of a shell close by.
where the English wilderness is
in the interstices
along the margins
here at the roadside
deep in grasses, poppies,
mallows and escaped hypericum
wherever the wind bears the seed
wherever the buzzard has moved in
new territory of field, wood and air
not asking for our opinion
us, who are
wilderness in wilderness
(Poem 105: 29/06/08 from the poem-a-day project, 2008 – 2012, Michael Blackburn).
“THE INIQUITY OF OBLIVION blindly scattereth her poppy, and deals with the memory of men without distinction to merit of perpetuity.” So wrote Sir Thomas Browne, a writer who has not had the full weight of said iniquity fall upon him and managed to remain partly in the light of literary remembrance. Those of us stricken with the vanity that we may be remembered after our death for our poems, novels, plays, paintings, songs or whatever, never find out, of course, though we know the odds are in favour of the poppy.
Such was the case with Brian Higgins (1930 – 1965), poet, mathematician, teacher, rugby player, freelance journalist and dole wallah. Higgins published three (hardback) collections, two of them during his very short life (The Only Need and Notes While Travelling), and one posthumously (The Northern Fiddler). His poems had appeared in reputable magazines and anthologies, including The Faber Book of Twentieth Century Verse, so he was not exactly an obscure scribbler while alive. His portrait was painted by Patrick Swift, one of the leading Irish artists of the day, and he knew many of the more successful writers of the period. This included George Barker, himself a permanently half-remembered poet, who wrote a foreword to The Northern Fiddler.
Read on at The Fortnightly Review.
‘After a while most of us find we’re doing the same stuff; I tried new things.’
What has it been like being a poet and publisher the past couple of decades? These are some of the things I talk about in this interview with poet, Geoff Hattersley, for the Royal Literary Fund.
Listen to the whole podcast.