Monday, July 10, 2006


1 The new book by Billy Collins. The Trouble With Poetry. Are his poems losing their edge? There are, for him, a couple of quite aggressive poems. And a few brilliant poems, too. But so many end in his trademark anti-climax. The cased guitar leaning against the bookcase. The sparrow on the porch roof. Discuss.

2 Despite that – the book has inspired me to write several poems. Including the one below – which you may like to comment on here.

3 Little Onion commented in the haiku flurry (see entry for March 27th) that it was unusual to see haiku keeping to the 5,7,5 syllable count – and somehow not necessary. But I disagree. I think the discipline of the form, together with the need to produce that little frisson of haiku magic – is what makes the haiku so fascinating.

4 England limp out of the World cup (yes, talking soccer here) Was it the fault of Sven, the manager? Was he just not up to it? Bad luck and injuries? Or the cheating Portuguese team? What do you think? And were the Italians worthy winners?

5 And finally – here in the Northern Hemisphere – it’s summer! What are your plans?


michael said...

Who is Billy Collins? A fig meat of your imaged notions?
I'm sad to see the World Cup end with a wimper. I thought the Italians were the better team on the night but nothing special really. I think England could have beaten them on a good day with the wind behind them and the sun at their backs etc.
Having to go out on penalties is always a terrible shame and so unfair. O well, have to wait another four years to get all worked up again. Have put out flag of St. George away in moth balls.

For the rest of the Summer we plan to take it easy and tootle around in Hazel's new Nissan Micra. It is red and has automatic big ends, a CD player ( very important but Hazel doesnt think so) a steering wheel and windows, five doors, folding seats so we can fit a rabbit hutch in quick comfy. An ash tray full of fag ends from the previous owner. Our first port of call is the Boat Museum in Ellesmere Port where Archie is doing a clever clogs day extra- carricula thingy with the Challenge Group.

Cocaine Jesus said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Cocaine Jesus said...

posted the following on the wrong post. sorry!

i often get visitors to my site who ask me was i inspired by ts elliot or has pablo nuerada ot cc cummings had an impact on me or influenced me.
truth is i am not that well read which either makes me sound like i am thick or someone who has stepped out of void and gone onto write what i write without any influences at all. neither is true.
most of my inspiration comes from either musical influences that i steal and mutate into some kind of word scheme or from the comic book authors (alan moore, neil gaiman etc)that i enjoy.
whats my point you may ask?

i really have little knowledge about billy collins apart from what you have told me and a little bit of investigating that i did based on your advise.

he is very good but i couldn't tell you if he has lost his way though.

you certainly haven't.

this poem is excellent.

i like the way you somehow (and forgive my naivety and lack of knowledge here) seem to write words that leave huge spaces that resonate with unsaid emotions so that the silent space seems to mirror/highlight the written word and reflect the emotional content.

it is an ability that i would like to ape. less is more i guess.

i found this poem so very moving and in a way that touches upon my life and my mum also. very, very good. wish i could write as well.
shit. i wish i could write poetryat all.
but then you have already told me i don't haven't you?

i like the original haiku format and cetainly little onion does it better than most. there is also that Taoist geezer that does a damn fine haiku too.
however, as much as i like the format, it reminds me of a quote george melly once made about what he called 'classical' music. he was refering in fact to ALL composed orchestral music, baroque, classical, romantic and modern. he said it was like a work of math. very structured and therefore limited and not at all like jazz with, although composed, allows freedom of expression.
i think haiku is a bit like 'classical' music, both of which i love, in that it is, by design, very structured and formal.
love it.
but surely a new form of haiku, independent and slightly different but still with that simple, paired down, natural beauty can evolve from it and still be called haiku?

a bit long winded eh?
good to have you back though and yes, it is all sven's fault. no passion. no fire. and as much as i was dissappointed by rooneys foolishness ii still admire his get up and go. sadly i suspect that steve maclaren is much the same as sven. i think we need a ferguson or benietez or better still the bolton manager. someone who roars and bristles with the desire to win.

nuff said!

Roger Stevens said...

Thanks Coke!

michael said...

As always it pays to find out these things for one self. I must admit I like poets who make me laugh (that's why i like you Roger!) - John Hegley, John Cooper Clarke etc. and a recent find- Hovis Presley who was mentioned on John Hegley's website. Sadly, he'd died recently at quite a young age. I sent off for his book " Poetic Off License" which is crammed with funny poems. Sad that I shall never be able to hear him read them.

michael said...

Heres a link to the Hovis Presley Memorial Website and where to buy his book - just HERE

Liam Wilkinson said...
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Liam Wilkinson said...

Hi Roger,

I deleted my last couple of comments because, upon reading them again, I have no idea what I was banging on about!

Billy Collins's new book is well worth the wait - I bought it when it first came out and it has taken some time to really sink in.

It grows on you. In a few months, you'll be looking at 'The Introduction', 'The Revenant' and 'The Trouble With Poetry' as classic Billy Collins poems - in the same way that you now look at 'Another Reason Why I Don't Keep a Gun In The House'.

As for Haiku, I favour the kind of Haiku poem that rejects the strict syllable count, but keeping to the strict form can often be hilariously fun!

michael said...

You've obviously gone off for your holidays once again. Hope it's somewhere nice and warm and sunny- these english summers are a pain aren't they?

Jaded said...

I was not thrilled that the only game of the world cup I could catch was Spain vs Saudi and Spain copped out after they got a head. And now I'm mad because my brother Darby is paying $20 extra just to see the West Ham games and they aren't being shown. Comcast said they had them all, liars.