Was at a poetry reading last night that featured Les Murray, the Australian poet. Murray is a great writer and a particular favourite of mine but a strange thing happened half way through the reading: I began to think his poetry was just a torrent of imagery that amounted, when it came down to it, to mere self-conscious trickery. I mean he described his son's fencing mask as 'the composite eye of an insect'. Why? Why describe anyone's fencing mask as 'the composite eye of an insect.'? And then just line after line there seemed to be more and more clever little devices pared and preened and taking their place among the others in a great man's great ouevre and for the first time ever I began to think poetry was just a silly little show off's game.
Maybe I'm cracking up.