Saturday, July 17, 2010

Simultaneous swearing.... I mean blogging

Foul language alert, kids.

There's this thang called the Simultaneous Blogging Experiment, organised by Mairi Sharratt, where a bunch of poetry bloggers blog on the same topic at the same moment to, er, see what happens. If it makes the world fall off its axis, sorry (but then you wouldn't be reading this anyway). I've written a piece below which actually focuses on some poetry. But the topic is 'swear', and it occurs to me that maybe everyone will just post a big fat swear word, so here goes:
These are the other bloggers taking part. Have a look at what they wrote. Maybe it'll be like a slam, and people will vote for the best one (or more amusingly for the most foul-mouthed):

Mairi Sharratt - A lump in the Throat

Caroline Mary Crew - Flotsam

Colin Will - Sunny Dunny

Andrew Philip - Tonguefire

Sally Evans - desktopsallye

Kevin Cadwallender - Cadwallender

Claire Askew - One Nights Stanzas

Russell Jones - Russell Jones 

Alastair Cook - Written in my hand

Martaerre Sobrecueva - de la poesia y otras disciplinas en palabras

And here's what I actually have to say on the topic – in fact just a brief appreciation of a coupe of lines in a single poem:

John Stammers has a well-known poem called 'On Love', which is well known not only because it is a good poem but because it uses the word 'cunt'. It's notable because Stammers' use of the word isn't significantly ironic or dramatic. We have to speak conventionally of the poem's speaker, so in that sense it is a monologue. But the rest of the poem doesn't give us much reason to suppose the voice is substantially ironic: it's couched in the same sophisticated, bleak, smart lyrical voice that Stammers uses elsewhere. (Maybe that pile of adjectives wasn't quite right, but you get the idea.)

When he comes to use the word 'cunt', it isn't used as an insult, just as a word. The lovers slowly give in to their situation, until 'what we uncovered was all our love/opened  up like a beautiful cunt before us.'
It's striking how Stammers uses 'all our love' and 'beautiful' alongside the swear word. Of course there is a contrast involved. But those other bits of language also serve to underwrite the sincerity of 'cunt' by insisting that it's being used in all lyrical seriousness. 


Blogger Russell Jones said...

Knackers is a good word. Is it not the place a horse would be turned to glue? Knackered is entirely different, mind.

12:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Neil Rollinson's poem On the Blowing of a Bird's Egg uses the same dastardly word in an equally (or more) necessary way. Wonderful to see it done well, as it were.

8:02 PM  

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