Tag Archives: the arts

My Poem “England On The Eve Of World War I” included in “World Poetry Peaceathon Anthology”

I am delighted to announce that my poem “England On The Eve of World War I”, has been included in “WORLD POETRY PEACEATHON : WORLD POETRY ANTHOLOGY”. Many thanks to Ariadne Sawyer and all those involved in Vancouver Co-Op Radio’s The World Poetry Reading Series.

To read a sample, or to purchase the book, please visit this link, https://www.amazon.ca/dp/B08FZWKY94.

The Arts

After she departs
To a destination unknown
He texts her phone
With a “thank you”.
The arts may capture
A true
Lover’s rapture.
Or gratitude to an actress, who played
Her part, to perfection, on his stage.

Mopping Up

Earlier today, I recorded my poem “The Man with the Mop”:

(“The Man with the Mop” can be found in my “Selected Poems”, which is available on Amazon, and can be found here, https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07WW8WXPP/ (for the UK), and here https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07WW8WXPP/.)

‘Light and Shade; serious (and not so serious) poems’ posts on Instagram

I have just uploaded four posts to Instagram of my book ‘Light and Shade; serious (and not so serious) poems’. The photographs show me holding the print and Braille editions of my book, whilst others show me stroking my dog, Trigger.

Book Description:
Life is full of light and shade. For to be human is to experience joy, beauty, love, pain and laughter. This collection reflects all facets of human experience. hence the title ‘Light and Shade; serious (and not so serious poems)’.

You can purchase ‘Light and Shade; serious (and not so serious) poems’ here for the UK or here for the US.

Writers and Free Speech

In “A Letter On Justice And Open Debate” https://harpers.org/a-letter-on-justice-and-open-debate/, the authors JK Rowling and Margaret Atwood (amongst many other authors and academics), speak out against what they label as “cancel culture”. They condemn the growing tendency to silence (or attempt to silence) those who express opinions which offend particular groups or individuals. And argue that the best way to deal with views with which one disagrees is by engaging in free and open debate, rather than attempting to silence those expressing such opinions.

The letter has provoked controversy. Take, for example this response from a WordPress blogger:

“there is no such thing as cancel culture. This is fans deciding they do not want to associate with sexist, racist, ableist, bigoted authors/artists/what have you, and deciding to not purchase future works from them.

It is also not censorship because the government is not coming in and forcing these authors to remove their books from store shelves or anything like that. Fans are simply refusing to support these artists anymore. Publishers have that same right. So do booksellers.” (see https://amberskyeforbes.wordpress.com/2020/07/08/cancel-culture/).

Whilst the blogger is correct that the government is not forcing anyone to stop stocking, publishing or buying books and/or expressing certain opinions, the fact that some authors are, for example removing their books from JK Rowling’s publisher is intended to put pressure on said publisher to stop publishing Rowling’s works. The publisher has (quite rightly) not bowed to such pressure. However, where they to do so, this could have the effect of depriving Rowling (or anyone else who expresses a controversial opinion) of their source of income. Sure someone as famous as JK Rowling would, in all probability find another publisher, but what about lesser known writers? In the latter case such people might well be deprived of their source of income. Depriving someone of their (legal) source of income is a big thing to have on one’s conscience is it not?

I do, of course defend the right of people to spend their income as they wish, and withdraw their books from particular publishers, for we live in a free society. However, actively calling for others to boycott the works of particular people (merely because one disagrees with something they have said) can very easily spill over into bullying. Society (or a section of it) does not possess the power to censor and/or ban opinions. It can, however create a climate in which authors (and others) fear opening their mouths in case they offend a particular group or individual. This is a very unhealthy state of affairs.

I have been told by one particular blogger (via a comment on their blog) to “educate myself”, as I expressed an opinion with which they took issue. My readers wont be surprised to learn that my response (had I voiced it, which I did not) would have been unprintable! The blogger in question was, of course perfectly entitled to their opinion (as am I). however telling people to “educate themselves” is not the best way to gain friends and influence people. Such statements come across as arrogant and are not the best way of encouraging free and open debate.

An acquaintence told me that he was thinking of writing a book on HIV/AIDS. The main character in his novel would be gay and HIV positive. However, my acquaintence (not himself being gay) was worried that where he to write his novel he would be castigated for writing about a subject of which he has no (direct) personal experience. Consequently that book will, in all probability never get written.

Of course when one writes or speaks about a subject about which one has no direct experience, one should be sure to do research prior to doing so. However, if someone wants to make a fool of themselves by writing a poorly researched book, or speaking on a subject with little knowledge of said subject, they have the right so to do. Of course we the reader/listner have the perfect right to point out their errors. Indeed it may be our duty to do so. But what neither the state nor society should do is to call for poorly researched books to be banned. Nor should either the state or society prevent people from expressing offensive opinions.

The advocacy of violence to achieve political or other ends is a criminal matter and anyone advocating it’s use should feel the full force of the law. However disagreeing with someone is not violence and its dangerous when people contend that the expression of measured opinion constitutes violence. As someone who is disabled (I am registered blind) I would be offended where someone to say that disabled people have no right to be employed, and that all anti-discrimination legislation should be repealed, leaving it to the discretion of employers whether to employ the disabled. However me finding this view particularly objectionable does not mean that the person expressing it has committed an act of violence. They have not. They have expressed an opinion which, in a democratic society they are perfectly entitled to do, and the best way of me dealing with their perspective is to argue against it. I may feel angry but the person has done no violence to me and I should not hound them on social media, nor should I call for them to be deprived of their source of income.

We live in a liberal society and long may we continue to do so.

I Started Early – Took My Dog, by Emily Dickinson

I have recently subscribed to the Poetry Foundation’s Audio Poem of the Day. The poem for Monday 6 July is Emily Dickinson’s “I Started Early – Took My Dog”, https://www.poetryfoundation.org/podcasts/75386/i-started-early-took-my-dog-656.

To me, Dickinson’s poem is full of erotic imagery:

“But no Man moved Me – till the Tide
Went past my simple Shoe –
And past my Apron – and my Belt
And past my Boddice – too –

And made as He would eat me up –
As wholly as a Dew
Opon a Dandelion’s Sleeve –
And then – I started – too –

And He – He followed – close behind –
I felt His Silver Heel
Opon my Ancle – Then My Shoes
Would overflow with Pearl –

Until We met the Solid Town –
No One He seemed to know –
And bowing – with a Mighty look –
At me – The Sea withdrew –”.

The above could be read as a description of the sexual act. In particular the poem’s ending, “the sea withdrew” does, I think need no further comment from me.

Dickinson was a deeply religious lady. Yet religion and the erotic are not mutually exclusive. But perhaps my interpretation is wrong, and the poem is what it says it is, a description of a woman’s trip (real or imagined) to the sea, and how the tide nearly overwhelmed her.

I would, as always be interested in the views of my readers.

Why Instagram means that poetry is going from bad to verse

An interesting article in The Times, which is, on the whole not very complimentary about Instapoets (I.E. those poets who post on Instagram), https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/why-instagram-means-poetry-is-going-from-bad-to-verse-d25rc9h3s.

The article ends with a list of the 10 leading poets on Instagram.

I do (occasionally) post some of my poetry on Instagram and you can find my page here, https://www.instagram.com/kmorrispoet/.

(Please note, The Times is protected by a paywall, which means that you can only read articles if you have a subscription to the newspaper. You can, however register free of charge for 1 month and access content, however after this period your card and/or bank account will be debited, unless you cancel within the period specified on The Time’s website).

Simon Armitage is appointed as the UK’s new Poet Laureate

Simon Armitage has been appointed as the UK’s new Poet Laureate, replacing the former holder of that position, Carol Ann Duffy. The Daily Telegraph has an interesting article on the appointment which can be found here, https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2019/05/10/xxx/

Short Story Vending Machine

My thanks to the young lady who drew my attention to this article during our chat earlier today,

https://www.theguardian.com/books/2019/apr/02/short-story-vending-machines-london-commuters-canary-wharf-anthony-horowitz

How to request that your book is added to the catalogue of theUnited Kingdom’s National Poetry Library

If you are a UK-based poet, did you know that you can ask the National Poetry Library to consider adding your works to their catalogue. To find out how to request that the Library consider adding your work, please see below.

Having published “The Writer’s Pen and Other Poems”, on 3 September 2018, contacting The National Poetry Library is on my list of things to do. (You can find “The Writer’s Pen” here, https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07GD1LBMV.

“My poetry book is published. How do I make sure the library has a copy?

Firstly check our catalogue to make sure we don’t already have a copy.

If it’s not there, please bear in mind that we receive 200-300 new items every month and are unable to accept everything that is sent for the collection.

The Acquisitions Panel meet regularly to consider submissions.

For your book to be considered, please send in a copy including a return address; the librarians will consider it and respond to you.

Please send one book at a time. We have standing orders with most of the UK poetry publishers.

If you are a new publisher who would like to submit your books please get in touch.

We are primarily concerned with collecting UK and Irish publications so please contact us before sending publications from overseas.

Please get in touch”.

FAQ:  https://www.nationalpoetrylibrary.org.uk/visit/faqs.