Tag Archives: modernity

Will People Still Read Poetry In 100 Years Time?

“Will people still read poetry in 100 years time?”, my friend Toby said as we sat in a pub in central London. “Yes” I replied.

We live in a world obsessed with material things. Whether one is watching a production of “Wuthering Heights” on commercial television or a trashy talent show, the advertisements are sure to interrupt one’s viewing with tedious regularity. Beautiful women imply that if men purchase certain products they will obtain the girl of their dreams, while other comercials exhort us to buy the latest gadgets (even though those we own are hardly out of their packaging and work perfectly well). Given this world of plastic smiles, where the sun always shines, its tempting to think that poetry is irrelevant as we find ourselves through endless consumption of products.

The idea that we are drowning in a sea of vapid consumerism is far from new. Take, for example William Wordsworth’s 19th-century poem “The World Is Too Much With us”:

“The world is too much with us; late and soon,
Getting and spending, we lay waste our powers;—
Little we see in Nature that is ours;
We have given our hearts away, a sordid boon!
This Sea that bares her bosom to the moon;
The winds that will be howling at all hours,
And are up-gathered now like sleeping flowers;
For this, for everything, we are out of tune;
It moves us not. Great God! I’d rather be
A Pagan suckled in a creed outworn;
So might I, standing on this pleasant lea,
Have glimpses that would make me less forlorn;
Have sight of Proteus rising from the sea;
Or hear old Triton blow his wreathèd horn”.
(https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/45564/the-world-is-too-much-with-us).

Wordsworth is right when he says “getting and spending, we lay waste our powers”. Indeed in this age of the internet and 24-hour television his poem is, perhaps even more relevant than when he penned it. However, modernity which as brought us TV shows where the foolish and the inadequate make fools of themselves for the enjoyment of the viewers, has also ushered in a plethora of high quality classic serials (and full length dramatisations) in which the great works of literature fill our screens. Technology now exists which allows the recording of programmes while disregarding the commercial break. Tech is, indeed a double-edged sword!

The internet is full of vapid celebrities living “perfect” lives. It is, however also replete with websites and blogs which furnish everything from William Wordsworth to William Shakespeare. The web also allows poets who might otherwise have languished unread to gain a following (and perhaps fame) in the digital age.

So in answer to my friend Toby, I conclude by saying that the glass is neither full nor empty. It is somewhere between those two states. Advertising may drive us bonkers (this is certainly true with me), however one can find solace in poetry which proliferates both in print and online.

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

Kevin

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Past And Present

It is a truism that we can not live in the past
But when the present seems barren as plastic
It is tempting to believe that we can stretch the elastic
Of this fact
And act
In denial
Of the vast supermarket aisle,
Where meaning’s lack
Is concretized in musak.

Modernity

Give me something real

Not this plastic I feel.

Give me books in cloth boards

That I may not be bored.

Give me a chime

To measure time.

Give me solid wood

To caress and love.

Give me objects that last

A link to the past.

The world moves fast

Vast

Nothingness beccons.

Enumerable seconds

engaged

In rage

Against the gleam

Of the machine

That haunts my dream.

 

 

Dark Angel

I love you because I can tell you my darkest secrets, things which would make the strongest of men go blubbering in search of his mummy. You judge me not, my blackest fantasies are your deepest desires.

In the depths of night when all but the vampire sleeps we speak of philosophy, of the darkness which lurks within the human heart. You are always there for me, my girl beautiful and serene. You laugh in time with my laughter and weep as I weep. Never changing, fixed, emortal caught in the brightness of my screen you are my virtual girlfriend, a machine.

Are you Bored?

Are you bored? Turn on the TV, kill the tedium, watch it with me. Have a problem? Does it hurt to think? The perfect solution, lets have a drink. Don’t like the truth, the nagging thoughts in your head? Turn up the volume, fill it with noise instead, and, if all else fails take refuge in bed.