Thursday, 28 October 2010

Woman, what's in a noun?

What does the word 'woman' mean to you? My MA project is a series of stories about 'Women,' I am not entirely happy about this word because, and you can do this yourself, if you google it, the vast, vast majority of the links you will get will link to pornographic sites, and thus presenting negative views of women. So what is the next step? I go first to the thesaurus and look for a synonym. Most of the alternatives are degrading: petticoat, skirt, moll, broad, I can hardly believe what I am reading. So enough of that, next step the The Oxford English Dictionary online and punch in 'woman.'
 The first 3 choices of meanings offered to me before the noun, were as follows: 1.Woman found in bachelor. 2. Woman found in battered. 3.Woman found in leg. What ? OK Susan get over all of that, go straight to the noun, 'An adult female being.' alright, not entirely helpful in trying to find good, positive related accurate words. So I read down another bit and think, 'how interesting, just look at all those ways woman used to be spelled! 'Passing over the old English I spot the following:' shame' 'hell hath no fury' 'every woman is at heart a rake' Then under 'the essential  qualities of a woman'-
‘G. EGERTONKeynotes 188 To get at the woman under that infernal corset.
There is an awful lot on this page, I will continue to study it, getting the right word seems very far away at this minute in time. Germaine Greer was right.
p.s. I'm not a feminist, I'm just shocked and annoyed at what I found.

Poetry is alive and well and living in Belfast

In this past week I have received no fewer than 4 invites to poetry book launches in Belfast, plus a similar number of invites to readings. All this in the small region/province of Northern Ireland. I also receive poetry invites and newsletters form the Republic of Ireland and Dublin is just as close to me as Belfast, so there is really no excuse for not taking up some of these invitations, except if I went to everything I got an invite for I wouldn't have time for anything else. So why this phenomenon in Belfast? It may to be something to do with the Seamus Heany Centre for poetry: ( )  this is the academic side of it, equally there are slams, poetry evenings, poetry tours, events all over the entire country, we must have quite a significant percentage of our population writing poetry. Maybe it's the same everywhere someone please do the calculation and let me know.

Saturday, 9 October 2010

Tranquillity: Poetry is.....

Tranquillity: Poetry is.....: "Did you remember national poetry day last week? Poetry is personal, what does it for you will not do it for me.You can be lonely as a cloud..."

Poetry is.....

Did you remember national poetry day last week?

Poetry is personal, what does it for you will not do it for me.You can be lonely as a cloud, amused by Pam Ayres ( I am) or depressed by TS Eliot. I read  his Wasteland in my summer holidays, it went beyond depression, it was scary. So this brings us closer to the definition of poetry, it has to move us in some way, so it doesn't matter if it rhymes ( unless it does matter to you), or sometimes it doesn't even matter if you can't understand it, it can still move you, try this one by Medbh McGuckian:


I see the skeleton of the year poised in the cool moonspray,
Trying to catch at the blemished calendar of the next.

Embraced most of the day by the low and slender rainbow,
The world-jewel sweeps on with its morning noon and night.

The nowhereness of the fifth-month stayed for a moment only,
Before the earthless mountain light anointed without mountains.

or some comedy/philosophy:


i wanted one life
you wanted another
we couldn't have our cake
so we ate each other.

Roger McGough.

My contribution for National Poetry Day 9th October 2010.

Thursday, 7 October 2010

Tranquillity: e-books or real books? Consult a crystal ball.

Tranquillity: e-books or real books? Consult a crystal ball.: "We are in a wonderful change environment, all sorts of gods and philosophers are telling us about the future of books and publishing, they a..."

e-books or real books? Consult a crystal ball.

We are in a wonderful change environment, all sorts of gods and philosophers are telling us about the future of books and publishing, they are consulting their crystal balls and getting the sort of reality you expect from this source.To me it's the same shift from painting to photography and from silent movies to talkies. Or even to take it back to another example Leonardo Da Vinci knew humans would one day fly. I hope he is enjoying himself looking down from heaven and seeing the reality of his vision.So the book as we know it is changing, but I don't think we will be going to museums in ten years time to look at books, my view is that the reasons for the decline in book sales are many and complex. One of the reasons might be that our values have changed, we value what we can consume, and what costs as little as possible.It seems odd to me that a glossy magazine, full of expensive advertising can cost nearly as much as a paperback.  I wonder if we did the sums and scaled up what books cost thirty years ago and what they cost now, we would find books have lost monetary value. What is the answer to this? Possibly ebooks, but I don't think ebook sales are equal to sales in print.( someone can correct me on this if they want) and this to me is minimalist consumerism, stream the words as directly as possible into the brain and collect the mirco payment. So where is the pleasure in finding a title? The lead from a friend, a review in the Guardian, an accidental conversation in the library, the quality of the art work on the cover, the construction design, and as I said before the feel of the book. So maybe its about splitting the world into consumers and connoisseurs? I don't know. What I do know is no matter how magic your crystal ball is, you will only know the direction of the future of books after it has happened.