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.

7 comments:

hope said...

Maybe it's just that "with age comes wisdom" thing. ;)

If not, then I'm beginning to show signs of leaning towards being a hermit. Or perhaps I prefer the company of my own quiet solitude to those tooting their own horns...loudly.

You can have the spotlight of your choosing and I'll just sit quietly and applaud at the appropriate moments. And if you get lonely, I'll send you a letter. ;)

Rachel Fox said...

Poetry readings are not the only type of entertainment on offer out in the world at large you know. I have heard that people go to cinemas, throw bowling balls, jump about to loud music and sometimes even just talk to each other when they go out.

Indeed poetry readings are quite often not entertainment at all, are they? They are work...and you know what work is don't you? Did someone say 'toad'?
x

Sorlil said...

I've got the opposite problem of rarely being able to attend poetry readings. From the sounds of it perhaps this is not such a bad thing!

shug said...

Cinemas, bowling balls? My God Rachel,do you live in a.....TOWN?

Rachel Fox said...

Well, I live on the edge of a town but it doesn't have a cinema or a bowling whatsit. I said 'people' go to those things - I didn't say I do. I do go out to hear live music (at least fortnightly) but apart from that it's dogwalking, mad friends talking and lots of eating (with some drinking involved but nothing that requires professional help).

Susan said...

One of the beauties of our house is that it's so far from anything, I can use the distance excuse for not going to readings and launches. Just this week someone suggested I talk to a psychologist (!) apparently I'm locally perceived as a recluse. I don't feel like one.

Ah well. Enjoy your home comforts! I must admit I'd like to *try* haggis canapes one day, but ...

Mason's said...

Shut the fuck up blogger. You sound like a pretentious douche.