Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Too Many Poets


Time was there seemed to be 3 poets in Drumsleet, The Makar Tom Pow, the beautiful Liz Niven and myself, as well as one short-story writer called Pete Fortune. This seemed an excellent and balanced arrangement, almost dictated by natural law; a senior, respected figure, a wumman, and two drunkards who'd spend a lot of time in the pub complaining about Tom being better known, and Liz getting more work. Occasionally we would be joined by Vinnie McWhinnie if he was out of prison.

Now there are poets everywhere. The taxi driver's a poet, the postie's a poet. There's even a talented poet living 3 doors down from me in the tiny village of Brigadoon. Many of these poets- though not all, I stress- are women of a certain age who have suddenly arrived, fully formed, with their own chapbooks. They are square jawed and determined. They win competitions. They have not served an angst ridden apprenticeship in the back of the Lyver. They shun alcohol. They are a formidable fighting force. I blame The Great Makar's highly successful creative writing courses at the Crichton Campus for the ongoing mass production of these poets.

I have a deep suspicion about anyone who does not at least occasionally drink. But a POET who does not drink? For God's sake, this is a violation of the natural order!

I am told that one of this species recently and publically repudiated the tradition of "local poets with their drink problems". It is a sad day for us, though I would describe myself, at some points in the 1980s as, in the words of Max Houliston, less of a poet with a drink problem and more of a drunk with a poetry problem.

Unhappily the furore has driven Pete Fortune from his muse. McWhinnie is trying sculpture in his Open Prison. The Great Makar is in Transylvania, or Venice or Shanghai. Only I walk Drumsleet's forgotten ramparts......

10 comments:

Rachel Fox said...

Competitions, creative writing courses...I think the correct slurred response would be...'oh bollocks to all that crap! Literature as business - soulless tight-arsed drivel and arse!' etc.

As I have already intimated...sadly I used up my entire life's ration of drink (and so on) between the ages of...well...13 and 30 and so can no longer drink like...well...you. I can only watch and admire your continued work in that field but I will say that you are an inspiration to us all, captain, and the medal's in the post.


x

Titus said...

Trebles all round!

Sorlil said...

Oh rub it in why don't you! I could murder a pint.

hope said...

I figure my non-drinking status is merely a statistical flaw meant to keep the system in balance.

See, now you can go have a drink in my honor for keeping the universe safe for the natural, respectable poets who shun "taught" poetry. :)

It's the lest I can do. ;)

hope said...

Hmmm. I swore I typed "least".

Perhaps my computer is tipsy.

Susan said...

Oh I loved the portrait of your comrades and town here. Must say I tried to laugh instead of cry, being a woman approaching a certain age who's just begun dipping into poetry! Ah yes, laughing now--and a few drinks with a poetry problem seem like just the thing to solve it all.

Vonnegut said...

I can't recall the eighties in the Lyver, but I do the nineties. As we discussed last night . . . arrested development?

Can I add, enigmatically to some, that one of these days Robert Rutherford's Guide will no longer be incomplete.

Frances said...

I am shocked I tell you. Shocked! Non-drinking poets indeed.

Stooshie said...

Kirkpatrick Dobie's cold bones would turn in their grave if they could.

I like to come up & keep you company from time to time, as you know. Who are these formidable women? Where are their dry old withered gullets? Let us kick them in & be done with political erectness.

On the plus side, good to see United get cuffed by Liverpool & now FULHAM. I'm still laughing.

the broken down barman said...

its like when rugby went pro! all of a sudden these muscular men in tight fitting tops are rolling around on perfect grass, not like the amateurs from decades ago, mud blood and drinking games and stupidity.
everything gets cleaned and ironed.made fresh for advertising campaigns and gala openings.
Watch out shug, you'll be next, with you esspressomochalatte decaf and your personal shopper. MARK MY WORDS