Tag Archives: history

The British Library and Legal Deposit

A few days ago, I received a receipt from the British Library, confirming that my “Selected Poems” has been added to their shelves/catalogue.

Under UK law a copy of every publication, published in the United Kingdom, (print and electronic), must be provided to the British Library, and to 5 other UK libraries on request.

The responsibility for furnishing copies rests with publishers which, (in the case of self-published authors) in effect means that they must provide their published works to the British Library and (if requested to do so) to the 5 other UK libraries.

The above system (which is known as Legal Deposit) helps to preserve the nation’s cultural heritage for the benefit of authors and readers alike.

You can read more about Legal Deposit here, https://kmorrispoet.com/2017/03/10/legal-deposit-for-self-published-and-other-authors/.

The paperback edition of my “Selected Poems“, (which is held by the British Library) is available from Amazon and can be found here, https://www.amazon.com/Selected-Poems-K-Morris/dp/1688049800

I Have Sat Round the Open Pub Fire

I have sat round the open pub fire
And discussed the rights and wrongs of empire,
And the ends
Of men
With friends.
But when
I walk through fallen leaves,
The ends
Of men
I truly perceive.

The Allerton Oak

As someone who was born in the city of Liverpool, I was delighted to learn that Liverpool’s Allerton Oak has been crowned Tree of the Year.

The BBC reports that the tree predates the Norman Conquest of 1066, and legend has it that a medieval court was held under it’s spreading branches. You can read the BBC article here, https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-merseyside-50141031.

I am a lover of all trees and, in particular oaks. You can find my poem “The Girl and the Oak” here, https://kmorrispoet.com/2016/01/03/the-girl-and-the-oak/.

If Gandhi Was A Racist, Who Then Shall We Honour?

Back in 2016, Oxford University announced that it would not bow to the demands of the Rhodes Must Fall campaign, and the statue of Cecil Rhodes would remain, https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-oxfordshire-35435805.

The Rhodes scholarship enables students to benefit from funds left in the will of the late Cecil Rhodes, irrespective of skin colour. However, the Rhodes Must Fall campaign contend that Rhodes was an “imperialist” and a “racist” and his statue has no place on the campus of Oriel College, Oxford.

I smiled with wry humour when I learned that radical students at Manchester University are objecting to the erection of a statue of Gandhi on the grounds that he described black people as “savages” and “dirty (amongst other offensive terms of abuse), https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/oct/17/manchester-council-urged-reject-mahatma-gandhi-statue-racism.

Let me be crystal clear. I did not smile at the offensive words used by Gandhi. Racism is wrong and should be condemned in the strongest possible manner. We all share a common humanity and skin colour does not define the value of a person, as value inheres in us all by virtue of our common humanity. Why then the reason for my wry smile? If Gandi can be attacked, who, then deserves a statue erected in their name? Please, someone show me the individual (living or dead) who is so saintly that they deserve a statue.

Both Rhodes and Gandhi where products of their time as, indeed are we all. In times to come those of us (including myself) who enjoy eating meat may be viewed by posterity as uncivilised, cruel individuals who predated on the inocent animal kingdom. Who, then will erect a statue to one of the meat eaters of today, irrespective of their charitable deeds, literary talent or whatever?

Will the vegetarians of today (or the future) be considered worthy of statues? What about the non meat eater who is a serial adulterer and treats his wives with utter contempt. If he is a great artist will his poor treatment of his wife be overlooked and a statue be erected in his name? Or will the policers of morals jump up and down and say “over my dead body”?

As Hamlet remarks, “treat every man after his desert, and who shall scape whipping”. I answer few, if any of us, for we are all imperfect humans, living in a complex and imperfect world. So, no, Rhodes statue should not fall and those agitating for it to do so should find something more useful to do with their time.


Book Banning

An interesting post on the subject of book banning, https://ckbookspublishing.com/2019/09/27/book-banning-is-it-right/.

As someone who read history and politics at University College Swansea, I am aware of (and concerned by) works which deny (or greatly downplay) the horrors of the holocaust. Long before the rise of the internet, pamphlets such as “Did 6 Million Really Die?”, and “The Hoax of the 20th Century”, peddled the wholly erroneous and poisonous view that the Nazis had no plan to wipe out European jewry. However, since the birth of the World Wide Web books such as this (previously available in back street bookstores or via mail order only) can now be obtained with the click of a mouse. Indeed much of this material is freely available online.

In my view the best way to deal with such unhistorical rubbish is to shine the lense of truth on it, rather than ban such works. Whenever “literature” of this nature has been exposed to proper examination it has been revealed for the trash that it is, (see, for example the various court cases in which holocaust deniers have been proved to be peddlers of untruth).

Also, by banning an idea, one risks making it “sexy”, and one may (albeit unintentionally) help to foster the view that “the establishment” (whoever they may be) have something to hide. So no, book banning is not the answer.


Nostalgia? well perhaps, or maybe . . .

In 2016, I published my poem, Squire and Peasant, https://kmorrispoet.com/2016/05/12/squire-and-peasant/.

The above is one of the poems I am minded to read at a poetry reading on Thursday 4 July. This will be a private event (unfortunately not open to the public), hence I wanted to share this poem here in order that it may be more widely enjoyed.