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TS Eliot named the nation's favourite poet

Emma B 11 Oct 09 - 07:08 PM
pdq 11 Oct 09 - 07:12 PM
Peace 11 Oct 09 - 07:17 PM
Emma B 11 Oct 09 - 07:22 PM
pdq 11 Oct 09 - 07:31 PM
Peace 11 Oct 09 - 07:41 PM
pdq 11 Oct 09 - 08:43 PM
catspaw49 11 Oct 09 - 09:15 PM
Janie 11 Oct 09 - 09:30 PM
Peace 11 Oct 09 - 11:26 PM
catspaw49 12 Oct 09 - 12:57 AM
Peace 12 Oct 09 - 01:03 AM
Jos 12 Oct 09 - 04:45 AM
John MacKenzie 12 Oct 09 - 05:48 AM
DMcG 12 Oct 09 - 05:50 AM
Jos 12 Oct 09 - 06:10 AM
Jos 12 Oct 09 - 06:28 AM
Emma B 12 Oct 09 - 06:41 AM
John MacKenzie 12 Oct 09 - 07:11 AM
theleveller 12 Oct 09 - 07:20 AM
John MacKenzie 12 Oct 09 - 07:39 AM
GUEST,Mike 12 Oct 09 - 08:45 AM
meself 12 Oct 09 - 02:14 PM
John MacKenzie 13 Oct 09 - 05:44 AM
theleveller 13 Oct 09 - 06:16 AM
John MacKenzie 13 Oct 09 - 06:58 AM
Crow Sister (off with the fairies) 13 Oct 09 - 07:05 AM
theleveller 13 Oct 09 - 08:14 AM
GUEST,Mike 13 Oct 09 - 08:46 AM
olddude 13 Oct 09 - 09:30 AM
Dave Roberts 13 Oct 09 - 12:17 PM
Dave Roberts 13 Oct 09 - 12:26 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 13 Oct 09 - 05:40 PM
Riginslinger 14 Oct 09 - 10:25 AM
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Subject: BS: TS Eliot named the nation's favourite po
From: Emma B
Date: 11 Oct 09 - 07:08 PM

Last week the results of the online poll, released to mark National Poetry Day, saw Eliot win in a "tight final", according to the BBC, narrowly pipping John Donne to the post.

In an eclectic top 10, Rastafarian dub poet Benjamin Zephaniah came in third (the only living poet to make the top 10), while no female poets – not even poet laureate Carol Ann Duffy or Sylvia Plath - made the final line-up, which was rounded out by Wilfred Owen, Philip Larkin, William Blake, William Butler Yeats, John Betjeman, John Keats and Dylan Thomas.

For all you folks who are owned by cats out there this poem, I just listened to on Radio4, is for you.

The Naming Of Cats by T. S. Eliot

The Naming of Cats is a difficult matter,
It isn't just one of your holiday games;
You may think at first I'm as mad as a hatter
When I tell you, a cat must have THREE DIFFERENT NAMES.
First of all, there's the name that the family use daily,
Such as Peter, Augustus, Alonzo or James,
Such as Victor or Jonathan, George or Bill Bailey--
All of them sensible everyday names.
There are fancier names if you think they sound sweeter,
Some for the gentlemen, some for the dames:
Such as Plato, Admetus, Electra, Demeter--
But all of them sensible everyday names.
But I tell you, a cat needs a name that's particular,
A name that's peculiar, and more dignified,
Else how can he keep up his tail perpendicular,
Or spread out his whiskers, or cherish his pride?
Of names of this kind, I can give you a quorum,
Such as Munkustrap, Quaxo, or Coricopat,
Such as Bombalurina, or else Jellylorum-
Names that never belong to more than one cat.
But above and beyond there's still one name left over,
And that is the name that you never will guess;
The name that no human research can discover--
But THE CAT HIMSELF KNOWS, and will never confess.
When you notice a cat in profound meditation,
The reason, I tell you, is always the same:
His mind is engaged in a rapt contemplation
Of the thought, of the thought, of the thought of his name:
His ineffable effable
Effanineffable
Deep and inscrutable singular Name.


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Subject: RE: BS: TS Eliot named the nation's favourite po
From: pdq
Date: 11 Oct 09 - 07:12 PM

"Ezra Pound and T. S. Eliot
fighting in the captain's tower"


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Subject: RE: BS: TS Eliot named the nation's favourite po
From: Peace
Date: 11 Oct 09 - 07:17 PM

"Calypso singers laugh at them
And fishermen throw flowers"


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Subject: RE: BS: TS Eliot named the nation's favourite po
From: Emma B
Date: 11 Oct 09 - 07:22 PM

OK fellas - one from a contemporary female poet :)

Bloody men are like bloody buses -
You wait for about a year
And as soon as one approaches your stop
Two or three others appear.

You look at them flashing their indicators,
Offering you a ride.
You're trying to read the destinations,
You haven't much time to decide.

If you make a mistake, there is no turning back.
Jump off, and you'll stand there and gaze
While the cars and the taxis and lorries go by
And the minutes, the hours, the days.

Wendy Cope


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Subject: RE: BS: TS Eliot named the nation's favourite po
From: pdq
Date: 11 Oct 09 - 07:31 PM

"And you read your Emily Dickinson,
And I my Robert Frost,
And we note our place with bookmarkers
That measure what we've lost."


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Subject: RE: BS: TS Eliot named the nation's favourite po
From: Peace
Date: 11 Oct 09 - 07:41 PM

"Like a poem poorly written
We are verses out of rhythm
Couplets out of rhyme
In syncopated time"


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Subject: RE: BS: TS Eliot named the nation's favourite po
From: pdq
Date: 11 Oct 09 - 08:43 PM

Am I correct in thinking that T. S. Eliot is the only Yank in the Top 10 as listed by your BBC article?


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Subject: RE: BS: TS Eliot named the nation's favourite po
From: catspaw49
Date: 11 Oct 09 - 09:15 PM

Silly words of poetry
Photographs in rhyme
Hidden phrases sing to you
With difference of time


Not me, but another Pat


Spaw


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Subject: RE: BS: TS Eliot named the nation's favourite po
From: Janie
Date: 11 Oct 09 - 09:30 PM

THERE ARE SOME MEN
by Leonard Cohen

There are some men
who should have mountains
to bear their names through time
Grave markers are not high enough
or green
and sons go far away to lose the fist
their father's hand will always seem

I had a friend he lived and died
in mighty silence and with dignity
left no book son or lover to mourn.
Nor is this a mourning song
but only a naming of this mountain
on which I walk
fragrant, dark and softly white
under the pale of mist
I name this mountain after him.

Words © Dunvagen Music Publishers, Inc / Chester Music Ltd. All rights reserved.


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Subject: RE: BS: TS Eliot named the nation's favourite po
From: Peace
Date: 11 Oct 09 - 11:26 PM

Spaw:

"And though you may not understand the things I say and do,
Reality is bad enough, why should I tell the truth?"


Pat Sky


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Subject: RE: TS Eliot named the nation's favourite poet
From: catspaw49
Date: 12 Oct 09 - 12:57 AM

I knew you'd know that one........Still one of my favorite songs......and what a great line!

"Reality is bad enough, why should I tell the truth?"

Spaw


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Subject: RE: TS Eliot named the nation's favourite poet
From: Peace
Date: 12 Oct 09 - 01:03 AM

I still have a copy of the LP that was on. No way to play it, but it's there in all its vinyl glory.

Pat was very good to me back in the day. He helped me with my stage performance, set pacing and even some finger picking. Very much a 'Rick Fielding' in that he had NO secrets from serious wannabes in music. I'm still in touch with him from time to time. I think the world of him as a person, writer and musician--much the way Mudcaters who knew Rick felt about him, and still do.


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Subject: RE: TS Eliot named the nation's favourite poet
From: Jos
Date: 12 Oct 09 - 04:45 AM

"The Nation's favourite poet", or just "BBC Radio 4 listeners' favourite poet"?


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Subject: RE: TS Eliot named the nation's favourite poet
From: John MacKenzie
Date: 12 Oct 09 - 05:48 AM

Exactly Jos, it's subjective.
Research quoted on BBC Radio 4 last week, said that something like 60% of primary school teachers could not name more than 2 poets, or poems.
Nowadays folks seem to get their poetical knowledge from films and stage plays. I'm thinking 4 Weddings and a Funeral, and Cats here.
While not rubbishing or supporting any particular poets, I am apalled at the choices, and even more so by the omissions.
Why in this 250th anniversary year, was there apparently no mention of Robert Burns, he is after all, allegedly, one of the best known, and most often quoted poets in the western world, and the only one with a celebratory day of his own.
I just find these polls so subjective, and they bear no relation to poetical excellence, and more to popular culture.
Who will be the nect poetical flavour of the month?

JM


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Subject: RE: TS Eliot named the nation's favourite poet
From: DMcG
Date: 12 Oct 09 - 05:50 AM

It's not that long ago that 'If' was voted the nation's favourite poem but Kipling didn't seem to make the list either.


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Subject: RE: TS Eliot named the nation's favourite poet
From: Jos
Date: 12 Oct 09 - 06:10 AM

And were the voters choosing the poet they really thought was "the nation's favourite", or the one who was their own favourite - the result could vary hugely according to the interpretation of the question.


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Subject: RE: TS Eliot named the nation's favourite poet
From: Jos
Date: 12 Oct 09 - 06:28 AM

Even among Radio 4 listeners, if sales, bookings and listening figures were taken into account, might the true favourite not turn out to be Pam Ayres?


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Subject: RE: TS Eliot named the nation's favourite poet
From: Emma B
Date: 12 Oct 09 - 06:41 AM

Well, of course, the result only gives us the favourite poet of a fairly small number of people (18,000 or so) who like filling in online questionnaires.

But, like many polls, the result is probably less about poetry than other factors - recent TV exposure in the case of Eliot (an excellent Arena and Robert Webb's documentary) and the somewhat poorer one on Donne by Simon Schama

I think given the usual audience for Radio 4's poetry programmes it's far more likely to be about The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock than the love songs of Andrew Lloyd Webber


I see the charming Daily Mail was once more responsible for misleading headlines.

It's possible that the eyebrow-raising statistic about primary school teachers is based on a misreading - deliberate or otherwise


The research study, commissioned by the United Kingdom Literacy Association, aimed to explore primary teachers' personal reading habits and their perceptions of the importance of literature and posed the question

Do teachers' personal reading habits affect literacy teaching?

The researchers in this study argue that this could be explained by primary teachers prioritising phonics programmes but struggling to raise the profile of reading for pleasure.

... but lets look at what the study actually said which was certainly NOT

"something like 60% of primary school teachers could not name more than 2 poets, or poems"

The teachers participating in the survey were invited to name six CHILDREN'S poets that they felt were both valuable for children and useful for teaching and learning in the primary classroom.

While (58%) could only name one or two 10% of primary teachers came up with six names.

I think there have been more than enough posts knocking teachers recently!

the actual research study

Typical Daily Mail Headline!
'More than half of primary teachers 'are unable to name three poets'


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Subject: RE: TS Eliot named the nation's favourite poet
From: John MacKenzie
Date: 12 Oct 09 - 07:11 AM

Of course, reading, or quoting from, the Daily Mail, is at best an admission of paucity of intellect.
Nobody in their right mind would give credence to anything published by that rag.
The imperfectly remembered figure I quoted, was taken from Radio 4, and I shudder to think they might have sourced it from the Daily Mail.
There, that's twice I typed that name.
I must go wash my fingers, and then disinfect my keyboard ;)

JM


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Subject: RE: TS Eliot named the nation's favourite poet
From: theleveller
Date: 12 Oct 09 - 07:20 AM

The cat poems are maybe what makes Eliot so popular, but it's this sort of think that makes him a really great poet:

Midwinter spring is its own season
Sempiternal though sodden towards sundown,
Suspended in time, between pole and tropic.
When the short day is brightest, with frost and fire,
The brief sun flames the ice, on pond and ditches,
In windless cold that is the heart's heat,
Reflecting in a watery mirror
A glare that is blindness in the early afternoon.


On the whole, though, I prefer Donne.


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Subject: RE: TS Eliot named the nation's favourite poet
From: John MacKenzie
Date: 12 Oct 09 - 07:39 AM

One of my favourites.
JM




The Force that Through the Green Fuse Drives the Flower


   

The force that through the green fuse drives the flower
Drives my green age; that blasts the roots of trees
Is my destroyer.
And I am dumb to tell the crooked rose
My youth is bent by the same wintry fever.

The force that drives the water through the rocks
Drives my red blood; that dries the mouthing streams
Turns mine to wax.
And I am dumb to mouth unto my veins
How at the mountain spring the same mouth sucks.

The hand that whirls the water in the pool
Stirs the quicksand; that ropes the blowing wind
Hauls my shroud sail.
And I am dumb to tell the hanging man
How of my clay is made the hangman's lime.

The lips of time leech to the fountain head;
Love drips and gathers, but the fallen blood
Shall calm her sores.
And I am dumb to tell a weather's wind
How time has ticked a heaven round the stars.

And I am dumb to tell the lover's tomb
How at my sheet goes the same crooked worm.

Dylan Thomas


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Subject: RE: TS Eliot named the nation's favourite poet
From: GUEST,Mike
Date: 12 Oct 09 - 08:45 AM

The results of this poll certainly show (at least to me) the utter rubbish that is being produced by the so-called Modern Poets of today. I know quite a few 'unpulished' poets who write some great works and like myself believe poetry went downhill after Betjeman.

I have been to a number of Poetry Readings and heard such utter drivel being read our and called poetry. For the most part the over-used word 'poetic' should be replaced by the under-used word 'pathetic.'

It was a great pleasure to me when, at the end of one particular reading, I was told by the organiser how great were the poems I had read but how could I write in the 'old rhyming style' - wasn't this rather difficult. My answer to that was that I would find writing such rubbish as I had heard presented that day and seen written by Carol Duffy, Simon Armitage and others of that ilk more difficult and I would equally find it too embarrassing to pen my name to such works.

Still that is only my opinion and others are free to differ


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Subject: RE: TS Eliot named the nation's favourite poet
From: meself
Date: 12 Oct 09 - 02:14 PM

"The results of this poll certainly show (at least to me) the utter rubbish that is being produced by the so-called Modern Poets of today."

Oh dear.

Perhaps you could offer us a few lines of your verse, so that we could see how much superior it is to everything else since Betjeman ....


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Subject: RE: TS Eliot named the nation's favourite poet
From: John MacKenzie
Date: 13 Oct 09 - 05:44 AM

Don't actually think Guest Mike said he was superior to Betjeman meself.
He expressed a distaste for "Modern Poest" note the capitalisation.
He said that he, and his unpublished poet friends, thought poetry has gone downhill since Betjeman, and while I don't totally agree with him, there is an awful lot of pretentious crap around.
Mind you, there was pretentious crap around in Betjeman's day too, I heard quite a lot of it at poetry readings, at the time.

JM


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Subject: RE: TS Eliot named the nation's favourite poet
From: theleveller
Date: 13 Oct 09 - 06:16 AM

"the utter rubbish that is being produced by the so-called Modern Poets of today"

I hope you'd exclude Ted Hughes and Seamus Heaney from that statement.


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Subject: RE: TS Eliot named the nation's favourite poet
From: John MacKenzie
Date: 13 Oct 09 - 06:58 AM

Well, to split hairs a bit. They were writing while Betjeman was alive, and are therefore contemporaneous. Doesn't this place them outwith the Modern Poets definition, in the context of his post?
It's hard to tell,
I don't quite agree with his post either, or at least the way he expressed himself. However I see no reason to attack him for it.

JM


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Subject: RE: TS Eliot named the nation's favourite poet
From: Crow Sister (off with the fairies)
Date: 13 Oct 09 - 07:05 AM

"the so-called Modern Poets of today."

Any particular names that stand out?


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Subject: RE: TS Eliot named the nation's favourite poet
From: theleveller
Date: 13 Oct 09 - 08:14 AM

"Doesn't this place them outwith the Modern Poets definition"

Oh sod, I'm showing my age now :)


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Subject: RE: TS Eliot named the nation's favourite poet
From: GUEST,Mike
Date: 13 Oct 09 - 08:46 AM

As a follow-up to my posting yesterday I have noted below what The Queen's English Society had to say about the subect back in 2008.

I have myself written to two of the modern poets asking them to explain to me exactly why they claim the verse they write to be poetic when it doesn't scan, it makes no sense and to my mind is tripe. The two poets chose not to write back.


Poetry guardians reject modern verseThe Queen's English Society demands rhyme and metre in poems. But the group's targets, including the Laureate, have hit back
Buzz up!
Digg it
Anushka Asthana
The Observer, Sunday 13 April 2008
Article history
When Oscar Wilde argued that a 'poet can survive everything but a misprint' he had not foreseen the formation of the Queen's English Society.

Members of the group, set up to defend the 'beauty and precision' of the English language, have turned their attention to contemporary poetry and poets, arguing that too often strings of words are being labelled as poems despite the fact they have no rhyme or metre.

The campaigners say that there should be a new definition of poetry, outlining the characteristics needed before a piece of work can be called a poem.

'A lot of people high up in poetry circles look down on rhyme and metre and think it is old-fashioned,' said Bernard Lamb, president of the QES and an academic at Imperial College London. 'But what is the definition of poetry? I would say, if it doesn't have rhyme or metre, then it is not poetry, it is just prose. You can have prose that is full of imagery, but it is still prose.'

The campaign is being spearheaded by Michael George Gibson, who said it was 'disgraceful' that the Poetry Society had failed to respond properly to his demands for a definition. 'For centuries word-things, called poems, have been made according to primary and defining craft principles of, first, measure and, second, alliteration and rhyme,' said Gibson. 'Word-things not made according to those principles are not poems.' True poems, he said, gave the reader or listener a 'special pleasure'.

Gibson praised the work of Chaucer, Shakespeare, John Donne, Robert Graves and even Queen Elizabeth I, all of whom he thought followed the rules of poetry. But he was critical of current writers, including Andrew Motion, the Poet Laureate. Gibson said that 'The Golden Rule', written by Motion to mark the Queen's 80th birthday, should not be called a poem. 'It has measure and refrain, but there is not another formal principle that would raise its status to that of a poem,' said Gibson.

He was also critical of the winners of The Poetry Society's National Poetry Competition, arguing that none of them was a poem.

Gibson singled out the work of one of the competition's judges, Michael Schmidt, a contemporary poet and academic who had been awarded an OBE. Schmidt's piece 'Pangur Bàn' was not poetry, said Gibson. 'It is in pairs of lines and I will assume they are measured out in a formal way, but beyond that there is no other formal principle. It falls short of being a poem.'

The Poetry Society has responded to the criticisms. One trustee told Gibson: 'There is poetry in everything we say or do, and if something is presented to me as a poem by its creator, or by an observer, I accept that something as a poem.'

Ruth Padel, a prize-winning poet who used to be chair of trustees at The Poetry Society, added: 'As for "what poetry is": in The Use of Poetry TS Eliot said, "We learn what poetry is - if we ever learn - by reading it."'

Motion described the 'rigidities' of the Queen's English Society as ridiculous. Schmidt, professor of poetry at the University of Glasgow, argued that for centuries poets had added variations to patterns and rules. 'It seems a primitive and even infantile notion that there are rules poetry must obey,' said Schmidt, who accused the QES of placing poetry in a 'straitjacket'. 'Poetry that follows the rules too closely is bad poetry. I think every form of verse, free or metrical, establishes a pattern and plays on variations of it.'

Schmidt said that Gibson's campaign was similar to a movement in the US that has been labelled 'new formalism'. Followers of the movement set up a magazine that included any poem as long as it 'rhymed and scanned'. 'But the bankruptcy of that has been recognised,' said Schmidt.

This is a poem ...

Excerpt from 'The Sun Rising' by John Donne, which members of the Queen's English Society labelled as a poem:

Busy old fool, unruly Sun,
Why dost thou thus,
Through windows, and through curtains, call on us?
Must to thy motions lovers' seasons run?
Saucy pedantic wretch, go chide
Late school-boys and sour prentices,
Go tell court-huntsmen that the king will ride,
Call country ants to harvest offices;
Love, all alike, no season knows nor clime,
Nor hours, days, months, which are the rags of time.

... but how about this?

Excerpt from 'Pangur Bàn' by Michael Schmidt, which members of the Queen's English Society said was not a true poem:

Jerome has his enormous dozy lion.
Myself, I have a cat, my Pangur Bàn.
What did Jerome feed up his lion with?
Always he's fat and fleecy, always sleeping
As if after a meal. Perhaps a Christian?
Perhaps a lamb, or a fish, or a loaf of bread.
His lion's always smiling, chin on paw,
What looks like purring rippling his face
And there on Jerome's escritoire by the quill and ink pot
The long black thorn he drew from the lion's paw.


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Subject: RE: TS Eliot named the nation's favourite poet
From: olddude
Date: 13 Oct 09 - 09:30 AM

Robert Frost (1874–1963). Mountain Interval. 1920.

1. The Road Not Taken


TWO roads diverged in a yellow wood,        
And sorry I could not travel both        
And be one traveler, long I stood        
And looked down one as far as I could        
To where it bent in the undergrowth;               5

Then took the other, as just as fair,        
And having perhaps the better claim,        
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;        
Though as for that the passing there        
Had worn them really about the same,               10

And both that morning equally lay        
In leaves no step had trodden black.        
Oh, I kept the first for another day!        
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,        
I doubted if I should ever come back.               15

I shall be telling this with a sigh        
Somewhere ages and ages hence:        
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—        
I took the one less traveled by,        
And that has made all the difference.


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Subject: RE: TS Eliot named the nation's favourite poet
From: Dave Roberts
Date: 13 Oct 09 - 12:17 PM

I agree entirely with GUEST Mike's first posting.


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Subject: RE: TS Eliot named the nation's favourite poet
From: Dave Roberts
Date: 13 Oct 09 - 12:26 PM

Sorry, I must learn not to be so dogmatic. I agree with GUEST Mike's first posting, AND with some of the qualifications appended by subsequent posters.
Of course there has been great poetry written since Betjeman - Roger McGough should definitely be added to the roll of honour.
Pam Ayres, on the other hand, and I say this in all honesty and sincerity, most definitely should not.
In my opinion.


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Subject: RE: TS Eliot named the nation's favourite poet
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 13 Oct 09 - 05:40 PM

the song of mehitabel

this is the song of mehitabel
of mehitabel the alley cat
as i wrote you before boss
mehitabel is a believer
in the pythagorean
theory of the transmigration
of the soul and she claims
that formerly her spirit
was incarnated in the body
of cleopatra
that was a long time ago
and one must not be
surprised if mehitabel
has forgotten some of her
more regal manners

i have had my ups and downs
but wotthehell wotthehell
yesterday sceptres and crowns
fried oysters and velvet gowns
and today i herd with bums
but wotthehell wotthehell
i wake the world from sleep
as i caper and sing and leap
when i sing my wild free tune
wotthehell wotthehell
under the blear eyed moon
i am pelted with cast off shoon
but wotthehell wotthehell

i know that i am bound
for a journey down the sound
in the midst of a refuse mound
but wotthehell wotthehell

beginning of the song of mehitabel from
the lives and times of archy and mehitabel
by don marquis


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Subject: RE: TS Eliot named the nation's favourite poet
From: Riginslinger
Date: 14 Oct 09 - 10:25 AM

America elected the hollow men, who got the stuffed men?


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