The Sunday Post // The Sunday Poet #3
The Sunday Poet #3
This poem comes from the same anthology as last week; Identity Parade New British & Irish Poets – and I just want to reiterate how much I am enjoying this collection. Every time I dip into it there is a poem that I enjoy, or one that I find interesting for whatever reason. This week’s poem is by Luke Kennard whose work is described as ‘a chimerical orchestra of fabulous characters and their put-upon sidekicks.’ The choir referenced in this poem, seem to me to be a way of describing mental illness – they make it impossible for the main character to work or hold down a relationship as they are persistently there. However the choir constantly serenading a unwilling victim (for some reason I imagine them appearing at the desk of an extremely perplexed businessman…) and following him around everywhere, being entirely over the top is a farcical image, which creates an intriguing contrast between concept and imagery. At the end, after his anger with the choir/mental illness the image of them gently serenading him to sleep and saying he may ‘become fond of them’, I find quite distressing. It is a poem that appeals to both the fantastical side of your imagination but also quite seriously addresses issues of mental health.
Luke Kennard – Chorus
The choir hadn’t left him alone since the first day of summer;
He awoke to find them stationed around his bed.
One day the choir arrived without warning or explanation,
Sang the choir in four-part harmony, handing him his toast.
On his first day back at work, the choir stood at his desk,
Singing, The choir are making his professional life impossible.
Two weeks later his partner left him for an osteopath.
Hannah cannot stand the choir any longer, they sang.
That night he pummelled the choristers with his fists;
He beats the choir in frustration, but though they are bruised
And bleeding at the lip, they sing with redoubled vigour, sang the choir.
Then they sang, He cannot get to sleep, he cannot get to sleep,
He cannot get to sleep, in perfect fifths, until he fell asleep.
In time you may even grow fond of us , they sang, quietly.
The Sunday Post #3
What I’ve read this week…
- The Twelve by Justin Cronin
- The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood. This is another re-read, because I absolutely love Atwood’s books, but I think I will post a review of it next week. It is dystopian novel set in a future where fertile women are kept as servants in richer households – as due to rising pollution levels and disease fertility levels are at an all-time low. Written from the perspective of one of these ‘handmaids’ it explores how the relationships between her and the couple for whom she works for change in an ever more desperate attempt to conceive a child.
- Identity Parade New British & Irish Poets edited by Roddy Lumsden: Sorry to bring this up AGAIN but it really is great. If you fancy a big whack of top-notch modern poetry then buy it, buy it, buy it!
- Gender Trouble by Judith Butler: this is a text I am reading as some research, and within it Butler questions that there is a natural or essential notion of the female, thus questioning the supposedly innate notions of gender. Butler conceives of gender as being a performative action, it is reinscribed through its repetition within an accepted and established social matrix. Some of the ideas explored within this text I have read about before, but I am looking forward to tackling the whole book!
And the rest…
This week has actually been fairly stressful; to start with it was supposed to be the first week of actual teaching on my course however one module ended up being cancelled as not enough people had signed up for it. I was pretty upset by this, as it was the module Contemporary Queer Cultures which is an area I am interested in and was so so excited for it to start and to meet and study with like-minded people. Thankfully the tutor for the course has been incredible, and has arranged for me to do an Independent Study option where I have the freedom to focus on an area of my choice and write an essay on that. So at the moment I am doing a crash course through the material that was supposed to be taught on the CQC module, and hopefully will get some inspiration! Phew! Thankfully there was a gallery opening at the museum this weekend, and despite working it I got to go out with everyone from work afterwards and relax with my good friend Pinot Grigio.
Thankyou internet, I think that sums up my week. But I had a great sleep last night, good day at work today and am feeling ready to tackle everything the coming week can throw at me!
How was your week? Did you fit in a lot of reading?