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Posted: 06 June 2005
Word Count: 186
Summary: Attended a poetry class at Auckland Uni recently...

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Out of a blue and orange twilight
a phalanx of putative poets
arrows in to The Poetry Class.
Building 114, Lecture Room 10,
Auckland University ContEd.,
Olsons’ “queer, isolated and gated place.”

The green roller board is covered
in economics formulae,
the lifeblood of the world.
Maybe Shaw was right,
and it would be a good idea
to lay them all out end to end.

Why are we here, in this
small, pale and worn box
with its high windows.
Do we want to bend light,
change the order of the planets,
prove Einstein was a liar?

Perhaps we band of brothers
are here to resurrect the
stiff carcase of our language.
To have it soar into crackling song,
and so we listen, talk, read
Collins, Sharp, Plumb.

Have never met this cohort
of poetic alumni, polished by
publication, but damned by
The remaindering bookshops.
How many cardboard boxes
do they hide under old towels

in their spare bedrooms in the
distracted and blighted suburbs.
And in the shadows, the vanity
publishers await the phone
call from the new disciples,
the graduates of The Poetry Class.

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Comments by other Members

Mr B. at 08:36 on 07 June 2005  Report this post
This was very good. It combined straightforward narrative with an insight into personal emotion. I loved the sense of exploitation in the last two stanzas. It was easy to access but felt intelligent - a difficult thing to achieve.

Nice one,


paul53 [for I am he] at 09:03 on 07 June 2005  Report this post
Hi John,

I don't know why, but I got a heavy sense of hopelessness from this, as if the majority of the class were merely "makeweight" - ballasting the ships that the published poets sail on.

Perhaps it is because I am currently surrounded by more than my fair share of dying friends, but I read this poem - and maybe it coming from NZ added to the impression - as the Australian folk in Nevil Shute's "On The Beach", waiting for the radioactive cloud to come and put an end to all their activities.

This is probably all tosh to you and gives more insight into my mindset than yours. Maybe it is just the proliferation of classes and "how to" books. I still have an unopened package of books from a publisher [all the same book] written by a friend's long-dead father stuffed under a cupboard, and I can't even shift them on Amazon at a penny a throw.


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