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Poems of the Decade

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Wednesday May 31, 2017 7:00 PM - 8:00 PM

Poems of the Decade writer, Ciaran O'Driscoll and writer of The Art of Poetry critical guides to this collection will take questions on the poems and do their best to offer answers. If you're studying Poems of the Decade for Edexcel this seminar will be great revision.

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30 Comments

Reply JO
3:44 PM on May 31, 2017 
Thank you for your time. Bye
Reply Ciaran O'Driscoll
3:35 PM on May 31, 2017 
BYE
Reply Ciaran O'Driscoll
3:31 PM on May 31, 2017 
MESSAGE FOR JO FROM CIARAN. I don't have too many good recordings. The best one of PLEASE HOLD is the link below. It was poetry slam competition and it didn't help that I forgot the lines in the middle.
www.youtube.com/watch?v=cAXDT4DK2To
I also recommend a poem of mine called The Copper Mines of Peru which is in much the same vein. Just Google: The Copper Mines of Peru Ciaran O'Driscoll and you should get it on You Tube.
Reply Ciaran O'Driscoll
3:07 PM on May 31, 2017 
I'm not going to answer that (not sure if I'm able), but I'll mention a few of the set texts which I particularly liked. Helen Dunmore's 'To My Nine-Year-Old Self' stays in my mind because of the nostalgia and the way she has of turning away from it. Ian's 'The Lammas Hireling' is a dark, dense and scary poem, almost making you believe that these shape-shifters and their dark ages still exist. I like the way Sue Boyle deals with the (these days) unmentionable fact that 'Beauty is but a flower'. Minhinnick's Fox in the Museum is witty and premonitory and Thorpe's 'On Her Blindness' touches the heartstrings by avoiding sentimentality.
Reply Ian Duhig
3:00 PM on May 31, 2017 
Neil Bowen says...
Okay, I think the technology has defeated our best efforts, perhaps in revenge for Ciaran's poem. We'll try something like this again next year, if anyone can stand it, once peripeteia discussion forums have migrated to our new home on the hopefully smoothly efficient pages created for us by Southampton University.


OK. Goodbye everybody.
Reply Neil Bowen
3:00 PM on May 31, 2017 
Ian Duhig says...
Nearly all of them Neil but I envy Michael Longley his poetry more than nearly anybody else's.


Interesting and generous. What is it about Longley's poem that you most admire?
Reply Ian Duhig
2:58 PM on May 31, 2017 
Neil Bowen says...
I know this is a tricky question, but of the rest of the poems in the collection which one would you must liked to have written? Ian? Ciaran?

Nearly all of them Neil but I envy Michael Longley his poetry more than nearly anybody else's.
Reply Neil Bowen
2:55 PM on May 31, 2017 
Okay, I think the technology has defeated our best efforts, perhaps in revenge for Ciaran's poem. We'll try something like this again next year, if anyone can stand it, once peripeteia discussion forums have migrated to our new home on the hopefully smoothly efficient pages created for us by Southampton University.
Reply Neil Bowen
2:48 PM on May 31, 2017 
So, what about the form of Please Hold, Ciaran. Had you that planned or did it evolve in that way? Is the single stanza significant?
Reply JO
2:48 PM on May 31, 2017 
Thank you - that's great - I'll point my students in that direction - we had great fun 'acting' the poem with a phone and plenty of anger/frustration - it really came to life.. Just wondered about the reference in Please Hold to "the only way you can now meet your needs is by looting". How does the word 'looting' fit into the context of the poem and why did you select that particular verb?
Reply Ciaran O'Driscoll
2:45 PM on May 31, 2017 
On the other hand, the new technology has great potential. It all depends on how it is used. But the creation of these long queues on the telephone by which people are impesonally distanced from the services they are seeking doesn't seem to me to be a good use of technology..
Reply Neil Bowen
2:45 PM on May 31, 2017 
I know this is a tricky question, but of the rest of the poems in the collection which one would you must liked to have written? Ian? Ciaran?
Reply Ian Duhig
2:43 PM on May 31, 2017 
JO says...
Hi - we studied this in preparation for class and discovered that we missed so much by reading the poem individually, but found much more in it when it was read aloud. Do you have a place where you share recorded readings of your poetry? Especially 'Please Hold"?

I read and discuss it here Jo - http://www.poetryarchive.org/poem/lammas-hireling plus more on the site if that's any use.
Reply Neil Bowen
2:42 PM on May 31, 2017 
Ian Duhig says...
I worked in Belfast in a hostel for young offenders and visited Islandmagee, where I heard local witch-hare stories as the biggest witchcraft trials in Ireland took place there. It was talking to people about this, letting a living tradition mix with old stories and poems I knew, some of which I quote below, plus the odd song and bit of lore and then I made room for a story.

Is the phrase 'to go into the hare gets you mucklle sorrow' your own or is it proverbial? Certainly sounds like the latter.
Reply Neil Bowen
2:40 PM on May 31, 2017 
JO says...
Hi - we studied this in preparation for class and discovered that we missed so much by reading the poem individually, but found much more in it when it was read aloud. Do you have a place where you share recorded readings of your poetry? Especially 'Please Hold"?


Hi Jo and thanks for joining our rather disjointed discussion. Appropriately enough the technology's been letting us down. Ciaran may be able to direct you to recordings of his poem and same for Ian with his...
Reply Neil Bowen
2:38 PM on May 31, 2017 
Ian Duhig says...
I worked in Belfast in a hostel for young offenders and visited Islandmagee, where I heard local witch-hare stories as the biggest witchcraft trials in Ireland took place there. It was talking to people about this, letting a living tradition mix with old stories and poems I knew, some of which I quote below, plus the odd song and bit of lore and then I made room for a story.

Thanks Ian, Did you know what form the poem would take before you started writing, or is this a more tentative, exploratory experience for you, for this poem?
Reply JO
2:37 PM on May 31, 2017 
Hi - we studied this in preparation for class and discovered that we missed so much by reading the poem individually, but found much more in it when it was read aloud. Do you have a place where you share recorded readings of your poetry? Especially 'Please Hold"?
Reply Ian Duhig
2:35 PM on May 31, 2017 
I worked in Belfast in a hostel for young offenders and visited Islandmagee, where I heard local witch-hare stories as the biggest witchcraft trials in Ireland took place there. It was talking to people about this, letting a living tradition mix with old stories and poems I knew, some of which I quote below, plus the odd song and bit of lore and then I made room for a story.
Reply Neil Bowen
2:32 PM on May 31, 2017 
Thanks Ciaran. And how did the form of the poem evolve? Did you always know it wouldn't have stanzas and was this a significant decision?
Reply Ciaran O'Driscoll
2:30 PM on May 31, 2017 
Neil Bowen says...
Thanks Ciaran, At what point did you console yourself with the thought that there's a poem in that?
I certainly never gave it a thought that there was a silver lining of a poem. As I remember it, there was a lapse of several days, but the experience kept coming back into my mind as it was so new and frustrating (while the guys who were creating this technology were probably thinking "What a breakthrough! Aren't we absolute geniuses?' and breaking open the champagne. The trigger for the poem was a remark of my wife's which I recalled and begun the poem with. My wife, distraught, saying 'This is the future. We are already there." The first line of the poem. And the anger returned: the boffins clapping themselves on the backs and saying what a great future our invention will create, and we, the proles, on the receiving end of their great future not having such a great future at all.