Wednesday, 20 April 2016
Today's Shedlines: BRITFOP, lullabies and frenemies
Dear assembled shedheads,
Thank you so much for attending today’s shed gathering. Apologies for being late but I have been out campaigning on behalf of BRITFOP (British Federation of Poets) on why it is vital for the future of poetry in this country that Britain remains within the European Union.
Exiting from the EU is potentially very damaging for the British poetry scene:
- Imports of continental European poetic forms – such as the rondeau, the Sicilian quatrain and the Norwegian limerick – will become subject to higher rates of the European Poem Tax
- Any poet found to be reading a Shakespearian Sonnet in a modish Parisian literary café will receive an on-the-spot fine and disapproving Gallic looks from the audience
- Words such as zeitgeist, rapprochement and pizza quattro formaggi will be banned from British poems. This will give rise to much schadenfreude amongst continental poets.
It is also likely that turning our poetic backs on Europe will result in increased commerce with Japan, which could see our country flooded with haikus over the coming years – and that can never be a good thing.
syllables splash down
five – then seven – then five more
help! haikus drown me
Without Britain being part of the European free verse agreement, it seems very unlikely that You Took the Last Bus Home would have been written at all.
On that topic, I am pleased to say that the book is now 178% funded – so we are nearing the 200% target now which means I have to do more free stuff for supporters (record poems, write poems – see previous Shed minutes).
I have also added a new pledge level – in which you can also get a limited edition booklet of my Christmas poems. I realize it is very unseasonal of me to bring this subject up in April but it’s important, I think, that the shed holds no taboos (and also, that the shed holds lots of booze). The booklet consists of twenty-four poems of festive misery, melancholy and murder, as evidenced by this extract from Papa Crimblecheeks, an old, soothing Icelandic lullaby sung to send young children to sleep on the long, dark nights, and which I translated myself from Old Norse:
Be good, my child, be good,
for Papa Crimblecheeks comes tonight.
Shut tight those snowflake eyes
or he will slit your throat.
The whale pot rocks by the fire
and the wind whistles a tune tonight.
Papa Crimblecheeks is on his way.
Hear the ghosts of children's cries.
Since we last talked, I had this very generous write-up in The Irish Times.
It is a constant surprise to me that anyone, other than me, should be interested in what I write.
Finally, thank you so much again for supporting this project. You are remarkably kind to have done so. I need to go and call on more doorsteps now – but anything you can do to spread word of the book amongst friends, enemies and frenemies would be really appreciated. I shall leave you with a short poem containing advice about how best to handle such people.
keep your friends close,
your enemies nearer,
and your frenemies
at a point equidistant
between your friends
and your enemies