Saturday, May 29, 2010
Tomfoolery of Poetry
Douglas Dunn’s Rumoured City¸ a Bloodaxe anthology of poets from Hull with a tersely memorable introduction by Philip Larkin, appeared in 1982. Ian Gregson and Carol Rumens have now co-edited a successor anthology, Old City, New Rumours (Five Leaves Press, £7.99).
The contributors are as follows: Peter Didsbury, Douglas Dunn, Andy Fletcher, Tony Flynn, Cliff Forshaw, Sam Gardiner, Chris Greenhalgh, Ian Gregson, T.F. Griffin, Douglas Houston, Margot K. Juby, David Kennedy, Angela Leighton, Frances Leviston, Roger McGough, Andrew Motion, Grace Nichols, Sean O’Brien, Caitríona O’Reilly, Ian Parks, Tom Paulin, Tony Petch, Genny Rahtz, Frank Redpath, Christopher Reid, Carol Rumens, Maurice Rutherford, DW, Susan Wicks.
Being in the book as I am it’s not for me to speak up on its behalf, other than to say how gratifying it is that a place so easily overlooked or written off by those who have never been should have hosted and nudged into being so much writing, some at least of it very good.
People put the oddest things in biographical notes though. Here is Margot K. Juby: ‘For several years now Margot has taken no part in the tomfoolery of poetry. She prefers to spend her time in revisionist research into the life of Gilles de Rais, who was re-tried and acquitted in 1992.’
More enviably, Frances Leviston ‘has worked as a librarian and a snowboarding instructor.’
As an inducement for you to go purchase the book let me reproduce ‘Ring’ by the always excellent Sam Gardiner(Portadown-born, Grimsby-resident, but Hull architect in his time).
Ring me, she said, years ago, before this ring,
This remembering. Soon she was coming round
And round, and the polarity was changing
From change in the air to bodies on the ground,
Bodies only, carefree and freestyle night
After night, shocked at not being appalled
At the shock of our animality, the feral cries;
That cry from the bathroom: your Hot is cold!
Cold hands in those days couldn’t stop her
Stopping my blues guitar. No No, she’d moan
And as two noes make one yes I did, never
Expecting ever hand in hand to turn to arm in
Arm, to tongue in cheek. The old fairground
Is fair game for ghosts, white stars hanging
Unchanged, while merrily we two go round
And round, the light catching her ring.
Earlier disclaimer aside, I am of course very pleased to be in Old City, New Rumours and heartily recommend it.