Thursday, January 15, 2009
The Poet as a Sociopath
I was recently described as a sociopath, on account of the fact I did not care to brave 30 miles on a leaky old sodium lit bus during a torrential rain storm in order to attend the launch of a new anthology of poetry. It takes a lot these days to tease me out of my rural idyll, where the hills slope mellifluously and the last bus leaves at 5.00pm, and even the prospect of free red wine and haggis canapes cannot always do the trick. I have not yet aspired to the anti-social vagaries of Patrick Kavanagh (see below) who used to walk along the street swearing under his breath while kicking out savagely at invisible enemies, and who, when approached by friends and fellow writers, would say "Can you lend me a quid? No? Fuck off then", but I can see a natural progression.
Sometimes the prospect of attending another poetry reading seems only marginally more enticing than having your head caught in railings or pressed vigorously in a vice. This is not to say that I have not been to some fantastic poetry readings, and that some poets are not scintillating and likeable people. I'm sure it's just old age and the fact that I no longer drink as much, but then again shouldn't antipathy, envy and downright dislike be the natural state of being between fellow scriveners? After all are we not all scrabbling at the same crust? I am inspired to turn on one of my fellow makars in Drumsleet and call him, as Horace Walpole did Samuel Johnson, "a babbling old woman" , or write as Norman Mailer did to William Styron, and invite him to a fight "in which I expect to stomp out of you a fat amount of your yellow and treacherous shit.”
Sending a letter's best, probably. Don't need to leave the house.