Monday, 24 January 2011

From a hotel room...

By Euston Square as it happens. The room is small and inevitably makes me think of the Sisyphus experience in the poem below. Yesterday at the Eliot readings it seemed as if I knew half the capacity audience of the RFH. Familiar faces and greetings everywhere. And poetry is often regarded as the lonely art, "exercised in the still night".

And that is of course true. I doubt whether a fully socialised being can be a poet. There is something utterly solitary at the heart of poetry, which may be why I cannot quite come to terms with the matey tone that appears in some poets some of the time. The sound of singing in the locked room of the head is more to the point. The channels of communication are underground or a kind of sonics. However open the verse is, however apparently convivial, at core it is alone in the valley of its saying. Yes, even the socially urbane Byron, perhaps especially him.

I must say that I was particularly impressed by Sam Willetts last night. For precisely the reasons above.


Gwilym Williams said...

Can a fully socialised being become a poet? Now there's a question. Must go away and try and think of one. Won't be too easy I suspect. But there must be at least one such animal out there surely!

Apropos, I've just managed to couple Shakespeare and Burns. Pretty sociable of me I thought :)

Enjoy your small room. On second thoughts why not head for the bar and do some socialising ;)

P.Lane Anon said...

Was the reading in what used to be/might-still-be-for-all-I-know The Voicebox next to the Poetry Library, George? Or in the main hall itself?

George S said...

No, not the Voice Box - the main hall. Over 2,000 people!

P Lane Anon said...

Dickens in America! (A literary "Gordon Bennett!")

George S said...

Socialised - well, I can use the toilet and a range of hygienic products, and have been known to engage people in conversation. I don't mean entirely unsocialised - I mean in the one vital respect.

This morning over breakfast Anne Stenvenson, in fully socialised mode, remarked that poets ought not to be gadding about like social butterflies or careerists on the make but be in their rooms with only the Muse for company. Or words to that effect. That is after agreeing with me about the merits of Jamesons best whiskey.

As for me was I not the soul of Mr Conviviality last night?

Something like that. As for me, I was Mr Conviviality the whole of last night.