Tag Archives: reading

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.

Revising my Selected Poems

In 2019 I published my Selected Poems, https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07WW8WXPP/. Since 2019 I have composed many other poems, some of which are included in book form, whilst others exist solely on this blog.

I have been thinking for some time about producing a revised and expanded second edition of my Selected Poems. I intend to begin work on this project in the near future.

As part of producing a second edition of my Selected Poems, I would be interested to hear from any of my readers. If you have a poem of mine that you believe should be included do please get in touch either by commenting below, or via email to kmorrispoet@gmail.com.

I can not guarantee to take on board all suggestions, but all comments received will be read, acknowledged and considered.

After the Ball

When I visited you
In your parent’s house
I doubt you knew
How I wanted you.
I remember your spouse
(To be).
Did he
Know
I wanted you
So?

After the ball
An owl called
And you said
How the owl’s cry
In the dark park
Was “sexy”, and I
Thought of bed
And went home
To tea, alone.

2 Free Copies of Leaving and Other Poems are Available to be Won

I have 2 free copies of the paperback edition of my collection Leaving and Other Poems to give away https://www.amazon.com/Leaving-other-poems-Kevin-Morris/dp/B09R3HR9KG/

My book is available on a first come first served basis. To be in with a chance of obtaining a free signed copy of Leaving and Other Poems please send an email to kmorris poet (at) gmail dot com. The address is rendered in this manner to defeat spammers.

Please put “free copy of Leaving” in the subject line of your email.

Please note, if you win I shall require your postal address to send the book to you. This information will not be shared with anyone else and will be destroyed once the book is sent.

If you receive a free copy of Leaving and Other Poems do please consider leaving a review. You are, however under absolutely no obligation to review the book.

Please remember that only 2 free copies of Leaving in paperback are available to be won.

The Future of the Audio Book

An interesting article on the future of audio books, https://goodereader.com/blog/audiobooks/audiobooks-ai-and-humans-where-do-they-stand.

Will AI (artificial intelligence) replace human narrators as the technology grows ever more human-like? AI is much cheaper than employing a human narrator.

The author of the article speculates that books narrated by humans may become a more expensive niche market while the majority of audio titles are narrated by artificial intelligence.

As a registered blind reader, I listen to a large number of audio books, most of which are produced by audible.co.uk (a sister company of Amazon). All of these titles are narrated by humans. In addition, I listen to books on Amazon’s Kindle using the text to speech facility which relays the contents of a book audibly to the reader.

Whilst the news or other factual material usually works well when voiced by AI or screen reading software, poetry does not, nor does fiction.

Several of my books (“The Writer’s Pen” and “My Old Clock I Wind”) are available as downloads from audible.co.uk. Both titles are voiced by human narrators and I can not imagine AI being able to put the emotion into reading which good human narrators do.

Having written the above, if one becomes engrossed in a book read by an electronic voice (for example by text to speech on a Kindle) one can sometimes become so engrossed in the plot/storyline that it is possible to forget one is listening to an artificial voice.

In conclusion, I can’t see human narrators disappearing any time soon at least where poetry and other works requiring expressiveness are concerned.

A Shiver, a Sigh, a Smile: Audrey Driscoll’s Review of Leaving and Other Poems by K Morris

I was delighted to receive a 4 star review of my recently published collection Leaving and Other Poems:

“Morris has a knack for creating vivid pictures with few words. “The Lighted Department Store” is a perfect example. Reading it, I saw the cheerful lights of store and pub, I heard the shouts of drinkers and the clink of glasses, but at the end, I was reminded, comes darkness and silence.

The brevity and conciseness of these poems make this book perfect for readers looking for philosophical glimpses into life.”

To read the review in full please visit https://www.amazon.ca/review/R3VGH3XMT6BHPE/.
To read a sample or purchase Leaving and Other Poems please visit https://www.amazon.com/dp/B09R8NG6WQ/

A Guest Post and a Review of The Further Selected Poems of K Morris

My thanks to Robbie Cheadle for reading and reviewing Leaving and Other Poems. You can find the review together with a poem from my recently published Leaving and Other Poems here, https://robbiesinspiration.wordpress.com/2022/01/30/robbies-inspiration-guest-post-poet-kevin-morris-and-a-review/.

January Author Newsletter

I’m pleased to announce my January Author Newsletter is available to read/subscribe. To do so please follow this link:

https://mailchi.mp/c79480b645b0/january-author-newsletter