This week, Joseph Robert had a couple of contributor copies arrive in the post – one poem in The Journal and a spread of three in Mistress Quickly’s Bed. These literary magazines are also stocked at the Southbank Poetry Library. Sometimes I have a good old moment of reflection on writing/ poetry/ art: what’s it all about, what’s the purpose etc and most importantly, why do I do it? As all you poets out there know, if you get into the poetry scene it’s most likely for the love of verse, rather than for money as very few poets make a living from it. My opinion on how to make a living from it? Get your work onto a secondary school, college or university reading list! Not very likely for the majority of us poetic voices crying out to be heard from somewhere in the mists of England, of course, so what next? The wave of the future. Spoken word events, poetry magazines in print and online. Find your voice, find your feet then launch yourself down the runway. Where does the runway go? Into the skies of the internet… ezines = your work finding an audience. Would I write anyway, even if I didn’t have an audience or make dribbles of money at it? Yes. I’m my own audience, first and foremost.
And back to the topic, from which I have strayed most sucessfully with my poetic ramblings! My favourite of Joseph’s from Mistress Quickly’s Bed? Yesterday, when I read them, I thought ‘Sand Dollar, Holler’ on page 29. But actually, now on the re-read, I’m thinking ‘Baby Needs’ on the next page. What are the tribulations of the human condition? We’re born (not of our own accord!), we grow up, we consume resources… we want, we want, we want. Are adults any different than toddlers, when you get right down to the nitty-gritty? Sometimes. Read my poem, ‘Bell Curve’ for a bit more on this, lest I digress even more. I also like ‘Sunspots’ by Martin Domleo and ‘Small town news’ by Lesley Clucas.
Joseph’s poem in The Journal, ‘Look, keep looking, leave’ is open to interpretation. Okay, you got me on that one – poetry is subjective, therefore, it’s always open to interpretation. But when I read this the first time, I thought it was about mental illness before realising I’d hit the nail far from the mark. This one has many layers. However, as Joseph Robert, after all, IS the man behind the curtain (and camera, when we go to literary events), what’s your perception of his poem? You’re on your own! My other favourites in The Journal are ‘Do not open this door! Dangerous dog on the other side!’ by David Grubb and ‘Waiting for warmth’ by Emily Strauss.