My new book was published this week. It’s a single long poem about a Tory MP called Lucien Gore who wins the country over with liberal rhetoric and then imposes massive cuts to the welfare state when he gets into power. Where do I get my crazy ideas from?
The poem is written in ottava rima, which is what Byron used to write Don Juan. It’s made up of eight line stanzas, each line is in iambic pentameter, the rhyme structure goes: ABABABCC. I think each stanza feels a bit like a cheeky sonnet, a pop sonnet. It suits long narrative pieces, forcing you to give each point or narrative movement a whole stanza. I find it really pleasing to read and I hope you will too. I wanted the poem to perform itself off the page.
Talking of performance, I’ve performed it about seven times now. It certainly works best in intimate surroundings to a smaller audience but I have made it work in theatres as well. I’m building up a key performance of it at The Port Eliot Lit Fest after which it’ll be retired to live out its days as a page poem.
Incidentally, I’m not keen on the distinctions people make between ‘page’ and ‘performance’ poets. I’m trying to get better at crafting my work so it holds up under scrutiny on the page, yet doesn’t lose its dynamism and sonorous touches when read aloud. I think its a compromise I’m going to be exploring for the rest of my career. This poem is a good indication of where I’m at with that.
It’s been a good two years for my writing. I write a lot more than I used to. The discipline of writing the Saturday Live pieces has helped, as has the four or so meetings I’ve had with Clare Pollard who has helped me sharpen my writing up a bit. Last week I found out I had been shortlisted for The Eric Gregory Awards. This the biggest prize for young poets (under 30), all the big names have won one. Sadly this was my last year of trying (I’ve only actually entered once before) so I can’t win one now, but being shortlisted is pretty cool. A few years ago I never would have imagined being in this position. So, what I’m trying to say is … well done me.
Anyway, you can be the judge … why not click here and buy my book 😉