Wednesday 10 August 2011

Where The Wild Things Are

Carol: "Hey, weird little thing, I like the way you destroy stuff. Good technique."
Max: "Uh... thanks."

Bull: "Hey! What are you doing?"
Max: "I...I... I'm just helping."
Bull: "By smashing our houses?"
Max: "These are your houses?"
Bull: "Look, we worked very hard on these. Then you, sir, showed up and started 'helping'..."

- from the screenplay of Where The Wild Things Are, 2009
I attended a poetry workshop in London a few days ago; my first, and very interesting it was too. I learned that my poems can stand up and speak for themselves despite some critique. I had a sense that the poet who ran the workshop dismissed me slightly because I was younger than most of the poets present, but she suggested helpfully that I would 'mature in time' :) She also critiqued one of my poems 'Something Beautiful' for being too reminiscent of 'Warming her Pearls', a poem by Carol Ann Duffy. The other poets disagreed vehemently; and since I hadn't even read that particular poem, all I felt was chuffed to have brought the Poet Laureate to her mind!! One of the poets at the workshop, Jane Clarke, is an Irish poetess making wonderful ripples in the poetry world. I am very much looking forward to her debut collection.

From that quiet haunt of white rose petals and cups of tea, into the wild rumpus of London's boroughs being burned and looted by a haphazard mob of 'yoof'. Simple to understand their greedy hungry acts, and simultaneously depressing to compare the reality of the revolutions occuring elsewhere, where young people really do have something to say. And yet despite there being no relation, one furniture store tenderly built, destroyed in a single act of arson, invariably sparks off memories of other buildings burning, other mobs, other riots. One group of people alienating themselves from the Other. Which made me think of 'Where the Wild Things Are', and how anger can be tranformed by the imagination, and even softened by wilfully experiencing and understanding the lives of Others.

The looters did not loot the bookstores. They left alone the stories, the wealth of creativity and the imagination, the poetry, the plays, the life of the mind.


Cloudia said...

Appreciate your views.

Tomorrow my post is about the riots...

Aloha from Waikiki;

Comfort Spiral
> < } } ( ° >


Sherry Blue Sky said...

I cant imagine someone who knows poetry wouldnt find yours as purely wonderful as they are. Glad the other poets defended you. Grrrr. I so love your writing, kiddo. And your spirit, which shines as steadily and serenely as the moon, and as beautifully.

The riots. Sigh. Am also thankful the bookstores were left alone.

Jeanne-ming Brantingham said...

Dear Poet,
Had I attended your poetry conference, there would have been a riot! From me!
I have heard of many divisions between poeple,class,race, religion, but hadn't heard of ageism or "maturity-ism" before. Glad you were defended by your peers.

Ruth said...

Oh I'm happy, happy to hear about the workshop. Forgive me for not writing back. I was so excited for you, and now you've been! And your work upheld! By your own hand, first and foremost, by your own hand and heart and spirit. And then by the others, the respected, the up and coming! 'Maturity' — ha! I pray I never mature in the sense of the workshop leader. Only in confidence. And as yours has been boosted now, through this tremendous privilege, on your spirit will soar, along with your words that more and more will feel.

These riots, I don't know. There must be reason within the senselessness. What cries from their hearts. I hear you though, I do. And Max and the monsters are a perfectly apt representation. Why destroy anyone's property? It is wrong. Pure and simple.

Sarah Laurence said...

What a wonderful opportunity for you and your poetry! We've been watching the violence in London with puzzlement. There is some small comfort in that the looters spared bookstores and that there are still bookstores left to spare. I love Where the Wild Things Are, but the looters, not so much.

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