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Forum Home > Poetry > Poems of the Decade

Neil Bowen
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Posts: 836

Ciaran O'Driscoll at May 29, 2017 at 12:48 PM

Neil Bowen at May 9, 2017 at 10:09 AM

Ciaran O'Driscoll at May 9, 2017 at 6:49 AM

Just a few thoughts on 'Journal of a Disappointed Man' by Andrew Motion, to add to what has already been illuminatingly said: 

This poem depicts the kind of scene which a disappointed man would see as an image of his own life, much ado that turns out to be fruitless. It is perhaps what Eliot would call an ‘objective correlative’ of disappointment.

The pile, apart from being something driven into the ground, also has strong connotations of fortune, good fortune, wealth (‘He made a pile’). In this case it is a wealth that cannot be exploited, perhaps it signifies poetry; and that is why the men cannot land it, why it is an enigma to them all and they gradually leave the scene, having given up on it, leaving the poet, the inheritor, with his unusable, impractical pile suspended in mid-air.

The pile remains suspended in mid-air because it is an ‘unearthly’ kind of pile.

The workers haven’t a clue what to do with this pile, just as many people haven’t any real understanding of poetry. This also could be the source of the disappointed man’s sense of let-down. I find the poem rather evocative of Beckett.

Now, I'm really glad you say that Ciaran, as I've an illustration from Waiting for Godot accompanying my essay on this poem in one of the Art of Poetry books. I like the mirror image idea, a disappointed man looking at a disappointment. You still on for a seminar on these poems later this month by any chance? 

Neil, is the seminar on "Poems of the Decade' still scheduled for Wednesday (31st)?

Yep, it will take place here tomorrow evening. Ciaran & I will be joined by our guest Ian Duhig and we'll be answering questions on these poems as best we can.

May 30, 2017 at 12:42 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Ciaran O'Driscoll
Member
Posts: 20

Good, I'll be on hand. Great that Ian will be joining us. It just struck me on my latest reading of 'The Lammas Hireling' that 'casting ball from half crowns/And my days here' corresponds to the folkloric idea that a werewolf must be killed by a silver bullet. In other words, the farmer is spending his days fearfully arming for the return of the hare-hireling and this fear and preparation consumes all his days....

May 30, 2017 at 6:24 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Neil Bowen
Administrator
Posts: 836

Good evening Ciaran, good evening Ian and good evening anyone else out there. Please say a quick hello & we'll get started.

May 31, 2017 at 2:02 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Neil Bowen
Administrator
Posts: 836

For some reason this page is taking an age to load. Please hold, while we check for supernatural interferences...

May 31, 2017 at 2:05 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Ian Duhig
Member
Posts: 3

Ciaran O'Driscoll at May 30, 2017 at 6:24 PM

Good, I'll be on hand. Great that Ian will be joining us. It just struck me on my latest reading of 'The Lammas Hireling' that 'casting ball from half crowns/And my days here' corresponds to the folkloric idea that a werewolf must be killed by a silver bullet. In other words, the farmer is spending his days fearfully arming for the return of the hare-hireling and this fear and preparation consumes all his days....

Great to be here Ciaran. You're right about the bullet, which I actually got from the traditional singer Paddy Tunney. Also, I wanted to underline a trajectory from a money-obsessed taciturn man to someone compulsively destroying money and unable to stop talking.

May 31, 2017 at 2:12 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Neil Bowen
Administrator
Posts: 836

Thanks Ian, can I ask why the narrator becomes unable to stop talking?

May 31, 2017 at 2:18 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Ian Duhig
Member
Posts: 3

Neil Bowen at May 31, 2017 at 2:02 PM

Good evening Ciaran, good evening Ian and good evening anyone else out there. Please say a quick hello & we'll get started.

Hi Neil, I've posted relevant translations of an old witches' chant by Robert Graves and by Heaney of 'The Names of the Hare' on the noticeboard for this, as well as a brief news item about the Lammas Fait at Ballycastle, near Islandmagee where I first heard the witch-hare stories.

May 31, 2017 at 2:21 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Ian Duhig
Member
Posts: 3

Neil Bowen at May 31, 2017 at 2:18 PM

Thanks Ian, can I ask why the narrator becomes unable to stop talking?

His trajectory is from someone obsessed with money who likes silence to someone compulsively destroying money (for shot) and babbling his guilt constantly, like the Ancient Mariner.

May 31, 2017 at 2:24 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Neil Bowen
Administrator
Posts: 836

Thanks Ian, they're very interesting. Due to the tech. issues, we'll continue our discussion on that noticeboard. 

May 31, 2017 at 2:24 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Mary
Member
Posts: 1

Neil Bowen at May 31, 2017 at 2:24 PM

Thanks Ian, they're very interesting. Due to the tech. issues, we'll continue our discussion on that noticeboard. 

Hi Neil, how do I access the noticeboard? 

May 31, 2017 at 3:02 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Neil Bowen
Administrator
Posts: 836

In conjunction with Forward Arts - the producers of Poems of the Decade - The English & Media Centre is running a competition for students of A-level English. Note the deadline is next Monday:

https://www.englishandmedia.co.uk/competitions/competitions-forward-emagazine-student-critics-competition/

September 4, 2017 at 12:12 PM Flag Quote & Reply

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