Saturday, January 19

Since when did post arrive at 5pm?

Despite crappy postal service, a most wonderful letter has arrived; 'So good to hear from you! What a delightful way to start a new year, I must say. And scented paper too! (I thought it smelt peculiar, so I sprayed it with perfume.) It's good to kow that there are still people in England doing things properly...' Oh yes, killing trees isn't so awful if wonderful letters are made of them... much, much better than email.

The letter gets better:

'Atheism... arrogant, agnosticism is cowardice, theism all too often falls prey to the folly of man...'

and the PS? 'yes... written on pages torn out of my exercise book'. (Nice, weighty paper though, so no complaints.)

Gosh. Exciting getting letters. Especially when you were wondering an hour ago whether they got yours, which was a reply about two months late. (This one will be quicker, I promise myself.)

My PS: then asking about Orwell and Wilde occurs, along with talk of becoming a recluse as a result...

now, I shall go out.

Thursday, January 17

Clare Pollard's Bedtime

Borrowed this from the library. After reading, I'm surprised it hasn't been taken out more. You know when something which you read excited you so much you want to palm it off on people, even people who don't 'do' poetry? That. It gave me a lot of that.

Poetry like this must be good for other people's stomach muscles too. Some of the jokes and innuendo is so obvious, but she manages to get away with it. It's not poetry which is asking to be liked, I don't think. And it is putting on a show. Take a poem named 'Turn of the Screw' – now take it's last line, proudly alone, 'and me all whole beneath the weight of you'. It is poetry which is showing off in a lot of ways, there's no doubt about that, but I like that; she’s risking showing off with the language which includes the ‘mah’ so-and-so of Northern conversation. It's playful, not taking itself too serious, not scared of writing about 'Sky One' in her 'post A-level summer', or that her art was a 'selfish' one.

The poem called 'The Smear Test' could rally with Olds' work, but sounds very much Pollard’s own. And I don't mean that it's predictable, because it's certainly not: I want to say something about her having a voice, rather than sounding like she's trying out different ones but unsure of all of them, only I’m not quite sure how to get this across. Anyway –

She gives us A-level summer confessions, telling of how 'Hometown' is the place she will be glad to walk out of tomorrow, and the pain of a place she tried to make 'something to pine for', though she doesn't sound convinced this happened, plus we have Sonnets about 'childhood certainty I want back'. I love it. It's exciting, it feels real, I can imagine her saying it without having ever heard her reading or speaking, and it’s given me a line I'm determined to get into a certain essay. As for which that is, I'll leave you to guess when you read it yourself.

Wednesday, January 16

Beatrice from Much Ado About Nothing is a delightful surprise after Gradgrind, and actually grinding Hard Times' itself into the mental 'swallow-me-up-now-please' ground through going over it. I presume she is the character people told me I would enjoy most... plus, it is delightful to find out that the play is quite short: no lengthy waffle, I hope. I did appreciate studying and analysing Hard Times, yet I can't imagine myself ever choosing to read it purely for pleasure: the time for a change is more than over-ripe, and Shakespearean wit wouldn't go amiss!