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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).

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When the Bishop Knocked

When the bishop knocked
He lost a sock.
They say that Miss Lou …
But that can’t be true!

When a Persistent Young Lady Named Leigh

When a persistent young lady named Leigh
Said, “I demand that you address me!”.
I took out my pen
And wrote on Miss Gwen.
And then I addressed that Miss Leigh!

Some Men Condemn My Poetry as Sad

Some men condemn my poetry as sad
And call me a most mournful lad.
When I tickled Miss Spink
She gave me a wink.
And called me a very bad lad!

Lou Who Wanted More

When a pretty young lady named Lou
Said, “I’m bored with just us 2!”.
I suggested Miss Moore,
Who arrived at 4.
And helped Lou to cook a stew!

I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud and Literary Criticism

Let me begin by saying that Wordsworth’s I Wandered Lonely As a Cloud is not one of my favourite poems. It is a pleasant piece of writing. It does not, however, resonate with me as much as does the poet’s The Solitary Reaper.

I am always a little wary of dissecting the work of poets. Many a dead poet would, I feel sure turn in his or her grave where they to hear literary critics discussing their work.

I don’t know whether Wordsworth would be amused or irritated by this video in which his I Wandered Lonely As a Cloud is dissected from a Marxist perspective, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZnVAPhHvWek.

In summary, the Marxist critique of the poem is as follows. Wordsworth had the leisure to lie upon his couch “in vacant or in pensive mood”. To possess such leisure one must be wealthy. In addition the poet does not engage with the social ills of his time. Rather he retreats into his own private enjoyment of nature. At bottom the poem is, to the Marxist critic a selfish piece of writing, because it is about the poet’s private enjoyment of nature and does not engage with the public realm.

One major problem with this perspective is that by making the poem public Wordsworth brought (and continues to bring) pleasure to countless numbers of people. To share one’s poetry is, arguably an act of altruism because, as already stated, it has the potential to bring great pleasure to those who enjoy that particular art form. Indeed it can also be contended that when a poem is out in the public domain the poet (or any other creative person) lays themselves open to criticism, some of which can be extremely harsh. For a creative person to step out of the private realm and risk (in the most extreme case) public ridicule is therefore a brave and unselfish act.

In its most extreme form this Marxist view of art leads to a society where men and women on tractors are glorified, whilst art which engages with issues not to the taste of the governing Marxist elite (such as poems about nature) are side lined or, in the worst case scenario their creators are punished as class traitors.

There are, of course Marxists who write about nature, romantic love and other issues not connected with the workings of the market economy. When such poets pen their work, are they guilty of the same sin as Wordsworth – of not engaging with society?

Although, as stated at the beginning of this post, I Wandered Lonely As a Cloud is not amongst my favourite poems, it is a pleasant piece of writing and does not deserve to be misinterpreted in this manner.

For anyone who is interested in learning more about the Marxist criticism of literature, and those who oppose it, there is a very good debate between the late philosopher Professor Roger Scruton and the Marxist literary critic Terry Eagleton. To watch the debate please follow this link, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qOdMBDOj4ec

Reading During Lockdown

An interesting post on The Reader, concerning a project in which people discuss books over the telephone. The project was launched as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The following link tells the story of Carrina, a retired GP living in London, and her reading relationship with a gentleman living in the north of England. To read Carrina’s story please follow this link, https://www.thereader.org.uk/carrinas-story-its-different-personal-and-wonderful-all-at-the-same-time/

Never Let me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro – Book Review

Never Let me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro

https://www.audible.co.uk/pd/Never-Let-Me-Go-Audiobook/B00LCHY9AM?qid=1618125902&sr=1-1&ref=a_search_c3_lProduct_1_1&pf_rd_p=c6e316b8-14da-418d-8f91-b3cad83c5183&pf_rd_r=E7DR700310ZFRFNCR62W

Summary:

In one of the most acclaimed novels of recent years, Kazuo Ishiguro imagines the lives of a group of students growing up in a darkly skewed version of contemporary England.
Narrated by Kathy, now 31, Never Let Me Go dramatizes her attempts to come to terms with her childhood at the seemingly idyllic Hailsham School and with the fate that has always awaited her and her closest friends in the wider world. A story of love, friendship, and memory, Never Let Me Go is charged throughout with a sense of the fragility of life.

My Review:

Hailsham is a seemingly idyllic setting for privileged boys and girls. It is a boarding school with acres of land, in which the welfare of the children and their education is overseen by “the Guardians”.

Cathy and her friends are encouraged to produce art, the best of which is taken away by “Madame”.

As the novel progresses, the reader is left with a growing sense of unease. Why is “Madame” fearful of the children? And why does she take their best work away to “the gallery”?

There is no cruelty at Hailsham, yet Miss Lucy seems troubled and attempts to communicate to Cathy and her friends something of their fate when they leave Hailsham.

As the story unfolds, we learn (following the departure of the students from Hailsham), of “carers” and “donors”. Every student from Hailsham (and the other institutions in England) must take their turn caring for donors, before themselves becoming donors.

The children reared at Hailsham, and other similar institutions are clones whose purpose is to provide organs to non-clones.

Much of the horror of the story lies in the euphemisms employed to describe horrific acts. The word donor implies a willing person who provides a kidney or other organ for reasons of altruism. However, in Never Let Me Go the students/clones have no option other than to furnish their body parts. Again, donors do not die, rather they “complete”.

There is no mention of any secret police in the novel. Therefore it is not clear how the state ensures that the clones fulfil their destiny and donate organs. Donors are not (as in Huxley’s Brave New World) subjected to intensive conditioning, yet there is no indication that any try to avoid their fate. This is, for me an issue with what is, in general a very well written novel. It seems almost incredible that none of the clones would attempt to rebel against the system.

There is talk by Ruth, Cathy, Tommy and other students about the possibility of students who have produced great art being, somehow able to defer their fate as donors, particularly if they can demonstrate that they are in love. To find out whether this is, in fact the case, you will need to read the book.

Claire and the Bear

There once was a girl named Claire
Who met with a large brown bear.
It is strange to meet
A bear on Oxford Street.
And to see young ladies eaten there!

A 4 Star Review of My Collection, “The Further Selected Poems of K Morris”

I was pleased to receive the following review of my recently published “The Further Selected Poems of K Morris”:

“… The first few poems relate to the death of the poet’s guide dog, Trigger. “Dog Bed” and “To a Departed Dog” are especially poignant. They are followed by a group featuring autumn, winter, or birds. Nature here is both comforting and indifferent. The best of this group is “This Winter Sunshine.” It is very short but very good. Two others that are brief but brilliant are “A Confession” and ” I Face My Darkening Window.” …”.

To read the review in its entirety on Goodreads please visit this link, https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/3935821813. The review can also be found on Amazon here, https://www.amazon.ca/review/R2QF59JP09SB74/. To read a sample or purchase The Further Selected Poems of K Morris please visit this link, https://www.amazon.com/Further-Selected-Poems-Morris-ebook/dp/B08XPMGD3F, or this one, https://www.amazon.co.uk/Further-Selected-Poems-Morris/dp/B08XL7YZ9H/
.