So today is National Poetry Day in the UK. Happy National Poetry Day! And by ‘Happy’ I mean ‘Fuck’. Because I wanted to be sincere and generous of mind on National Poetry Day, but instead I listened to some actual poetry and started smashing things. Like, in my mind. And by ‘smashing’ I mean ‘being really mean and sarcastic’.
Let’s start this off by noting that I am a terrible person. I am mean and cynical and bad-tempered, especially when I see certain kinds of poetry performed.
I may even be Poetry Hulk.
The Chindian and I wandered down to the Royal Festival Hall and there was a Chinese lady poet reading as I arrived. ‘Oh good,’ I thought. ‘Either oh good, or oh no. Which will it be?’
The words ‘Emperor’, ‘nightingale’ and ‘lychee tree’ followed in quick succession.
I wrote a text to a friend I hoped to meet there, saying “I’m with baby Chindian on the steps of Clore Ballroom listening to some pretty, lyrical, well-elocuted serious-minded Chinese essentialist cliched claptrap that makes me want to barf. Shit, hope it’s not your new girlfriend.”
I mean, this is LONDON, I ranted to myself. This is the centre of the literary fucking world. How can they get away with this? Don’t they know Amy Tan is dead? (Okay, Amy Tan is not actually dead, but poets are into metaphors and shit.)
The thing is, it’s not like she was a bad poet. It’s not that her poetry was bad. In fact, it was pretty good as that sort of poetry goes. It’s just that I fucking hate that sort of poetry. So all this smashing was totally my own fault.
I guess I keep hoping that some kind of London Chinese futurist politicised nonclichéd subculture that is half (or even a third) as interesting as the ones in the US or Auckland will materialise before my eyes without my having to do any work at all. Which is just lazy. As is being mean about poetry without having bothered to write any in years.
On my way back to the flat, I passed a bunch of fucking hippy yurts. The people who sit in them in the UK are not Mongolian, or any other form of nomadic herding folk. I think I can be mean about yurts without feeling guilty.