Poetry. And Document 1.
Poetry. A form of writing where anything, whether amazing or terrible, can be both wonderful and awful. It shows up the subjectivity of humanity, one person can love it; another can hate the very same words. Shakespeare is considered by anyone with a brain cell as a great writer, (and by my old GCSE poetry anthology as a ‘fairly successful poet’) and one who contributed to the formation of language and literature as we know them. And yet ask a young’un who’s been studying Macbeth what they think of it and you might just be showered with colourful profanities until you’re the literary equivalent of a Jackson Pollock painting. Funnily enough, modern art is essentially the visual alternative to poetry, sometimes emotive and intelligent, sometimes not. Take the poet laureate, Carol Ann Duffy. She’s a hugely celebrated poet, and yet reviled by the students who are attempting to remember all of the connotations of the juxtaposition of lines 27 and 28 of one of her poems for their GCSE exams that will be obsolete when Gove brings in the new system of laser brain scans to determine intelligence because a child might be able to cheat at an exam.
Regardless of all the different views on individual poems, some are just not poetry, and I’m going to give you an example of one such piece in just a few lines’ time. Before that, some background to the poem.
Let me set the scene, we’re in the common room of my sixth form – a rather uninteresting room, with a few pictures of Nicolas Cage scattered around. I wander over to my mate Dave to enquire what he’s up to. ‘Writing a poem’ he responds, opening up a word document as he does so, before spontaneously penning the following masterpiece:
Would you like to
Save your changes?
The box said to me.
As I looked at it.
Querying my actions like a dissident to my dictatorship.
This is not how we behave.
The cursor moves across the screen. My hand moves the mouse.
It hovers, thinking: querying me again.
This must cease.
Extruding myself from the dark, despondent brightness that clatters across the monitor
I look around.
My finger twitches. More dissidence.
It will come soon.
It moves, tracing a silent arc across the space
And the button.
A touch. Resistance.
Now, Dave’s an incredibly intelligent and talented individual, and this is an excellent parody that had me laughing heartily. But one thing it’s not is actual poetry. And yet, it got published. THAT got published, in a book of poetry! We entered it into a poetry competition to amuse ourselves and they thought it was good enough to be released into the world. I felt many emotions when I found out it were to be published: amusement, confusion, anger and confusion. It really shouldn’t have happened, but it gives SO much credence to my opening argument about poetry.
And, to finish, here’s the author of Document 1, David Ho, lying in some trees, because poetry.