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Great Feedback On My “Selected Poems”

I was delighted to receive the following email earlier today:

“Dear Mr Morris,
I am writing to tell you that your poems in “The Collected Poems of K Morris” that you gave me on the train on my way to college are exceptional. You might not remember me but I am the girl doing politics and history that you met on the train and gifted your amazing book to. I have always been interested in writing poems and therefore you have really inspired me to carry on my interest and write some poems of my own. I would really like to thank you for gifting me your book and inspiring me to continue writing”.

The Selected Poems of K. Morris

“The Selected Poems of K Morris” can be found here https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07WW8WXPP/ (for the UK), and here https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07WW8WXPP/. (for amazon.com customers).

(Please note, I have not included the young lady’s name in order to protect her privacy).

Working Girl

She expertly fits
A balloon.
Sits. Wriggles hips.
And soon
His fun
Is done.

She is his confessional
And as a professional
Listens for a while.
Then, with a smile,
“Darling that was fun.
Now I must run”.

Cultural Vandalism

The Irish Times reports that the Oxford, Cambridge and the Royal Society of Arts (RSA) exam board has removed the Irish poet Seamus Heaney from it’s exam syllabus along with other writers from Ireland. In addition, the English poet Wilfred Owen’s Anthem for Doomed Youth and Philip Larkin’s An Arundel Tomb have been removed, as have works by other English poets including William Blake.

The OCR’s Chief Executive Jill Duffy states the reason for the changes is to “reflect diversity and inclusivity not just in our qualifications, but in the material we produce to support their delivery, as well as in the assessment of our qualifications”.

I have for years laboured under the misapprehension that the purpose of the subject of English literature is to teach students about the best of our literary cannon. It never crossed my mind that it’s purpose is to enhance “diversity and inclusivity”. Henceforth I shall read books with these aims in mind, rather than with the aim of furthering my appreciation of the richness of English literature.

Of course, works of literature do engage with social issues. For example Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mocking Bird addresses the iniquity of racism in the southern United States. However, Lee’s work has been studied because it is a great work of literature that deals with racism, not because it promotes “inclusivity and diversity”, although, of course a side effect of reading To Kill a Mocking Bird may well be to kindle in it’s readers a feeling for the deep injustice of the racial prejudice in the American south.

Larkin’s An Arundel Tomb and Owen’s Anthem for Doomed Youth are both fine poems. I remember studying the latter whilst at school and coming across the former some years later. To drop Larkin, Heaney and Owen seems perverse and retrograde. Larkin and Owen are, in particular integral to the cultural fabric of the British aisles and I have sympathy for the Education Secretary’s description of the dropping of these poets as “cultural vandalism”.

You can read the article in the Irish Times Here https://www.irishtimes.com/culture/books/2022/07/02/irish-writers-dropped-from-uk-school-curriculum-in-move-to-increase-diversity/. Larkin’s An Arundel Tomb is available on the Poetry Foundation’s website here https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/47594/an-arundel-tomb. Wilfred Owen’s Anthem for Doomed Youth is also available on the Poetry Foundation’s website and can be found here https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/47393/anthem-for-doomed-youth. For information on Seamus Heaney please see the Poetry Foundation’s website here https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poets/seamus-heaney.

As always I would be interested in the views of my readers.

Old Time

On hearing my clock chime
I think on Father Time.
I touch my grey hair
And wish for a woman ere
My ageing clock does finally stop
Ending time and my passing rhyme

Pure Miss Moore

I know a young lady named Moore
Who has a reputation for being pure.
She came round at midnight
With her friend Miss White,
Who’s reputation is as pure as Moore …

When Girls Visited Lonely Men

When girls visited lonely men
At the height of lockdown,
Some neighbours did frown
And no doubt say,
“Those men need to pay!”.
But perchance when the dance
Of fun was done
They did indeed pay …

Lou Who Fell into a Pot of Stew

When a young lady named Lou
Fell into a pot of stew,
A chef called Doyle
Said, “you will spoil
That stew you fell into Lou!”.

A Rake’s Life

After the women go
I so often know
The meaning of zero.
Sometimes there is pleasure
But, when they go
Often I feel zero.
Sometimes I wonder whether
They also know zero.

I avoid
The void
In nights
Of bought delights.
But, when they go
Often I know
The emptiness of zero.

A Wicked Rumour

I know a pretty young perfumer
Who is spreading a wicked rumour,
About me and her,
And gorgeous Miss Claire.
How sad its just a rumour …!