Puttin’ on the agony

Puttin’ on the style

Lonnie Donegan

So you like writing poetry? Fine!

Poetry is just so easy these days – blank verse for the blank generation, it’s a freestyle free-for-all – yes it’s the only way.

All formats, from the fractured remnants of archaic stanza form, to the modish Modernism of open field, process or whatever, are available to the auteur.

Pick-and-mix as you like! But reject ever more sharply the vainglorious folie de grandeur of epic high seriousness. Instead, embrace the cardinal virtues – and what are they? Convulsive beauty, automatism, objective chance (phrases taken at random from a top hat, or the mass media), black humour (nothing is sacred), Existential angst, The Absurd, mad love (the amatory mode always appeals), Subtopian Materialism, and – no offence! – That lucid chimaera, absolute, freedom of expression.

Oppose the literary thinking of the last four decades, put yourself on a collision course with every ideology, pour scorn on the fashionable nonsense of radical chic linguistic obsessions – it is hardly surprising, you might say, that in our post-cultural world, the chattering classes of scholasticism are fixated on language.

We all know that the best work is always off the radar if not beyond the fringe (ha!).

So, what’s it all about?

As always, the answer is Style.

Poetry is like couture; Yes! Style is everything!





A.C. Evans

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