poetry news

pamayres.jpg The good news: Pam Ayres has got an MBE. I’ve been a fan of Pam Ayres’ unpretentious light verse since I first heard her reading it in her distinctive West Country burr about twenty years ago. My favourite is still Clamp the Mighty Limpet, which begins

I am Clamp the Mighty Limpet
I am solid, I am stuck
I am welded to the rockface
With my superhuman suck.

When I get home this evening I’ll transcribe the rest of it, and a couple of others. (Update: apparently I forgot to steal the Pam Ayres books from my parents last time I visited, so I’ll make a separate entry when I’ve bought myself new copies.) I think Ms Ayres should be Poet Laureate instead of professional boring git Andrew Motion. Seriously, and if I had the time I could make a scholarly argument for the idea on the basis that light verse of a certain kind is the last (and perhaps the first and only) distinctively British mode of poetry. (photo lifted from the jacket cover of her latest book)
anthonyhecht.jpg The sad news: Anthony Hecht is dead much too soon at 81. Hecht was a formalist whose poetry merited with unusual frequency both of the overused adjectives “beautiful” and “melancholy”. He also (with John Hollander) invented the double dactyl, a light form that’s considerably harder than it looks. This, for instance, reads like one but isn’t:

Higgledy piggledy
Anthony Hecht is dead,
terrible news for all
lovers of verse:
assholes like me will be
obituarizing him; what
could be worse?

You can read some of his work at the links above, and I’ll transcribe some more tonight. (photo swiped from Auburn U Dept of English) (both items from the excellent dumbfoundry)

One thought on “poetry news

  1. Higgledy piggledy
    Anthony (Tony) Hecht
    His name wouldn’t fit in the
    Form of his verse.
    Sadly, he now is a
    (Which, compared to not scanning, is
    Immeasurably worse.)

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