Tag Archives: art

Poet Kevin Morris holding a copy of his recently published Selected Poems.

My thanks to my friend Shanelle for taking the below photographs, which show me holding a copy of my recently released Selected Poems. For anyone who is visually impaired, the front cover shows a close up image of bluebells in Spa Woods, a wooded area close to the poets home in Upper Norwood. Spa Woods was once part of The Great North Wood, and contains many ancient oaks. The back cover is also shown, and displays a picture of the poet at the entrance to Spa Woods, close to an historic house.

The Selected Poems of K Morris are available in ebook and Paperback here for the UK and here for the US.

 

Is There Any Money In Poetry?

I have been asked by a number of people (including my mum!) whether I make any money from my writing. Yesterday evening, whilst out for a drink with friends, I had the same question addressed to me and answered (so far as my memory serves), in the following manner:

“Very few writers make much money, and its particularly difficult for poets to derive an income from their poetry, as that particular art form is rather a niche market.

Whilst I self-publish on Amazon (which has no costs associated with it), I do pay an editor/proof reader to check for typographical and other errors. Also, whilst there is no obligation on me to purchase author copies, I always do buy paperbacks of my books (albeit at an author discount) to distribute to family, close friends, my local library etc.

I could more easily recoup the cost of the above where it not for the fact that I have been in the habit of giving away copies to strangers, in future I shall become a veritable Scrooge in such matters. Actually, I think that this is unlikely, (me becoming a Scrooge I mean!).

Whilst poets can cover their costs, and even turn a profit, it is extremely difficult for them to do so”.

In light of my conversation with friends yesterday evening, I did a little digging with the help of Mr Google and came across this article, https://www.shmoop.com/careers/poet/salary.html, which does, in essence chime with what I told my 2 friends last night.

I would, as ever be interested in receiving comments from my readers.

Kevin

I Take Offense!

Recently, I attended an event which began with a choir performing several songs. Later on that same day, I learned that a number of attendees had been offended by the irreligious nature of several of the songs and where minded to complain to the organiser of the event.

The above incident caused me to consider to what extent (if any) I (as a poet) am under an obligation to avoid causing offense. Should I censor my writing and/or performances to avoid upsetting my readers and/or listeners?

I am, by instinct a liberal as regards such matters. If you don’t like a book, a television programme, or a poetry performance then you can stop reading the work in question, turn over to another channel or walk out of the performance.

Having said the above, where young children are present it is, of course wrong to expose them to adult material. I have never known of a poetry performance where it has not been made clear as regards those who will be attending. Of course where a performance is advertised as being suitable for all ages, young children etc, it would be wholly wrong to read poems touching on adult and/or erotic matters. Some of my poems do contain adult themes and I would never dream of performing them at an event at which children where present.

However, I am deeply concerned at the growth of the view that there exists a right not to be offended. Let me qualify the foregoing statement somewhat. Of course we all have a right to be offended. Indeed one can not help finding certain things offensive. What we do not have is the right to use our sense of offense (how ever genuine that may be) to censor artistic expression. Most of us are offended by something or other, whether that be swearing in public or the person standing next to us on the tube who has failed to clean their teeth! However we do, as adults have the capacity to either ignore the offending behaviour or to walk away. To argue that certain songs, literature etc should be prohibited and/or restricted simply because I (or you) don’t like it, is deeply iliberal and ends in a society where poets and other producers of art confine themselves to writing about flowers and sweet little lambs frolicking in the countryside. Whilst there are some wonderful poems and other artistic creations touching on these themes, no artist should be compelled (or feel so compelled) either by the state or the force of public opinion (whether majority or minority opinion) to self-censor. To do so leads to an anodine world in which little (if anything) of artistic value flourishes.

I well remember having a conversation with a person of deep faith in which they stated that no one should be allowed to criticise their religion and, in particular their god. I find this perspective deeply disturbing. We do, thankfully live in a liberal society wher you and I have a right to be offended. However we have no right to use that offense (however deeply felt) to call for the censoring of the opinions of others, whether in the field of art, politics or in any other sphere.

Some Wear Their Heart Upon Their Sleeve

Some wear their heart upon their sleeve
And the world does grieve
To see such display.
Others go a different way
And conceal
Their guile
Behind a smile.
While poets may reveal
What does lie
In their heart
Through their art,
So readers may see,
Or not as the case may be.

An 18-year-old girl’s hair

Unaware as her hair
Brushes against my hand.
Pleasure rushes.
Then, again.
I maintain
My composure.
For a disclosure
Would embarrass both me and her.
And, after all its only her hair
That touches
My hand.

Middle-age clutches
At what can not be
For, you see
The truth
Is that age can not command
A youth
Who is unaware
Of the power of her hair
To excite delight
In a middle-aged man’s heart,
And find expression in art.

Do Poets Attempt To “Control” People?

On my way home yesterday evening, I bumped into an acquaintence and engaged in one of those random and somewhat odd conversations one does, on occasions find oneself involved in. My acquaintence with the gentleman with whom I spoke is of a passing nature, in that we have spent a few minutes chatting when we encounter one another. However, yesterday evening we spent some 40 minutes or so talking, during the course of which I learned that he is an artist. This led me to mention that I write poetry, to which his response was that “poets/poetry wants to control people”.

I was, I must confess somewhat taken back by the above statement. Despite me trying to elicit why my acquaintence held such a view, I was unable to obtain an answer which made sense to me. However the statement that “poets/poetry tries to control people” got me thinking about whether there might be any substance to the opinion expressed by my acquaintence.

Poets do (as with the rest of the population) hold views on religion, politics etc, some of which find their way into the poetry they write. Can reading a poem which voices a particular opinion “control” the reader?

Many years ago I remember reading an anthology compiled by the late left-wing Labour politician Tony Benn, entitled “Writings On the Wall: A Radical and Socialist Anthology”. I remember being impressed by some of the writings contained therein, however the book did not turn me into a Socialist. Where there to be a simple connection between what we read and how we vote then, surely I would now be a card carrying member of the British Labour Party or another Socialist party which (as mentioned above) I am not.

A poem has no power to exert physical control over the reader. Indeed, during the course of our chat, I mentioned to my acquaintence that where I to take hold of him and demand that he act in a certain manner that this would, quite obviously entail an attempt by me to exert control over him (I hasten to add that no one was grabbed or maltreated in any manner during the course of our interactions). We can, therefore safely conclude that poetry (or any other form of art for that matter) has no power to (literally) “control anyone.

Having said the above, it is true that Nazi Germany, the former Soviet Union, Mao’s China and various other regimes have banned books and persecuted (or even murdered) writers with who’s work they disagree. For example “The Gulag Archipelago”, which catalogued the horrors of the Soviet prison system was banned in the USSR, and its author persecuted. So, obviously totalitarian governments fear literature that attacks the belief structure on which the regime is built.

Does the fear of totalitarian regimes of literature which attacks their world view proove that poetry (and other forms of art) have the power to “control” those exposed to them. No. What free artistic expression can accomplish is to encourage those exposed to it to question their view of the world (or at least some aspect of it). Encouraging critical thinking is not control. Quite the opposite for, in the case of the authoritarian government it is the regime (not the poet or other artist) who is “controlling”, whilst the artist is questioning the status quo.

In conclusion, poetry does not “control”. It may (and often does) contain a message (political, religious or otherwise), however the reader can make up his/her own mind as to whether they agree (or disagree) with the poet’s perspective. It should, of course also be remembered that much poetry is purely (or largely) playful in nature. There is, for instance in most limericks no desire on the part of the poet other than to produce laughter in his/her readership.

As always I would be interested in the perspectives of you, my readers.

Kevin

New photographs on my Instagram

I have uploaded a number of new pictures to my Instagram.

 

The Poet’s Muse

The poet’s muse
Wears down at heel shoes
And sleeps
And weeps.
Yet, in his poem she is beauty personified
Who never cries.
And when she and the poet dies
She may live on
Through future ages,
Preserved midst the pages
Of some book.

Though she be gone
Readers will look
And see a perfect view
Where no muddy shoe
Was ever worn
And no heart
Was ever torn.
Or perhaps his art
Will be true
To his readers
And to his muse
In her muddy shoes.