Poetry and the recession

I’m toying with writing something about the recession but I’m not sure that it’s a theme that lends itself to verse. If poetry is about compression then it’s really quite hard to get to the kernel of the current crisis- what we seem to have is an abundance of follies (greed, hubris, unchecked risk, the herd instinct, stupidity, arrogance etc etc etc) and a plethora of explanations that are almost as complex as the problem itself.

I’m not suggesting that poetry shouldn’t be polemic nor that it should shy away from the uncomfortable. It’s just that if you are going to do polemic then you need to be very sure of your target. The closest I’ve got so far is taking on the Chicago School with it’s rigid faith in the glories of the unregulated market, in self-correction regardless of the human loss on the way.

This doctrine has always struck me as intellectually empty and to attack it by saying the obvious seems a bit too easy unless I can find an interesting way to put the point and present a feasible alternative without being too strident.

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10 responses to “Poetry and the recession

  1. I like this one better, but you do really seem to have a thing about writing about writing!

  2. john armstrong

    I take it you’re referring to the bishop thing rather than this- writing about poetry is as addictive as heroin and just as bad for me. I console myself with the probability that it’s an antidote to writing about welfare issues all day. Still, I’ve got some lines for the recession poem that are only remotely to do with poetry – I take it the inclusion of romance motifs are okay if they’re relevant.

  3. Yes I did! Oops. I think you can include what you want. To me, poetry has less ‘rules’ than other kinds of writing and that is why it appeals to me so much. Do you really think the writing is bad for you? I’ve conversely seen it as a sign of you doing better…

  4. Writing about writing is bad because you get into loops that have very little to do with the real world. By being bad for me I mean bad for me as a writer rather than bad for me personally/clinically.
    What is it that you like about the Bishop poem?

  5. Jamie Spencer

    I dig the subject matter, I am drafting a poem on it as well. You may like some of my stuff , http://jamiespencer.wordpress.com

  6. I’ve now written it- I’ll post it later today but I’m still not sure if it’s a suitable subject for verse

  7. I think I like it because I empathise; I, too feel that many hours of late have been badly met. And I like the self deprecation, the way you end it.

  8. It isn’t meant to be self deprecating, it’s meant to be witty and self-referential and clever, as if to say that I think I’m having a “big” thought but it’s too big for me to think about.
    I like the ending because it’s aware of itself- if that makes sense- and it closes things down when there are about to get mawkish.

  9. I knew I didn’t exactly mean self deprecating when I said it….

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