Tuesday, 18 January 2011

"Anyway, like I was saying, the hermit."

Does that strike you as a good line of poetry? (NOTE: Comments are disabled. Just answer the question in your head like a normal fucking human being, okay?)

Well, whether it does or it doesn't, if you ever get interviewed and the interviewer asks if you know any poetry off by heart, you can reply, "Anyway, like I was saying, the hermit." And the interviewer will be all, 'Wow! What does it mean? What CAN it mean?'

All of this is because it is a line from a poem from a collection I'm currently proof-reading (Ha! Which evenings are spent playing with Mensa wooden puzzles and eating a whole multipack of Wotsits now? Not this evening): my new collection, a narrative sequence in pamphlet-form, shortly to be published by the splendid Nine Arches Press (http://www.ninearchespress.com/index.html)

It has the same title as this blog. There is a reason for that which I will come to RIGHT NOW. About three or maybe two years ago I did that one-poem-a-day thing for the month of April. Sometimes I did it properly, and sometimes I did it disingenuously, making some of the pieces out of scraps and half-finished things I'd already written. Why am I even admitting that? Still, a kind of narrative emerged and I enjoyed it, and I enjoyed the results more than the collection I'd just published, which was a sorry state of affairs. For a few months the frenzied media bulldozer that is my writing career shook lustfully onward, and I answered lots of interview questions like, 'Do you like to use a pen or a computer when you write?' and 'Do you keep all your poetry money in a little wallet or just stuff it into your garter-belt?', all the while nurturing a wound, and that wound was that I preferred the work I'd written (or self-plagiarised) and presented as off-the-cuff, casual Friday, Little-Pig-Robinson pocket fluff. Preferred it, indeed, to the work I'd written (or self-plagiarised) and presented as a book of fine and brilliant things. Several disappointed reviews of the book (one critic was so upset he refused to review it altogether, presenting instead some factoids about earthquakes: "At the Earth's surface, earthquakes manifest themselves by shaking and sometimes displacing the ground", etc.) only exacerbated my concern. A little while later I lifted the poems from the blog in the hope that everyone might forget I'd ever put them up there in the first place and started shilling them about the place. Given that I'm so famous I sometimes get asked for an autograph by the postman, it didn't take long before literally the only press I'd sent it to all but bit off my hand with an 'It needs quite a lot of work.'

So after cutting the whole thing in half and painstakingly re-writing every poem so that gems like "Anyway, like I was saying, the hermit" really sparkled like the gems they are, the journey was completed. And I, like so many journeyists before me, was left to realise that the point of the journey had been the journey itself and not the destination. Bah!

A chilling insight into the 21st century poet's studio. I know, I know you're thinking
All contemporary poetry is shit, and you're the worst, posh-voiced, repetitive, irrelevant nosebleed of them all. You're a product of the insidious industrialisation of culture via Creative Writing course. You squat in your comfortable little red-brick "job" conning your proteges out of thousands of pounds. You have a pathological desire to be liked by everyone, you're a terrible lecturer and a fraud of a writer and even the people who've said ludicrously nice things about your work in the past are having second thoughts.
But I've disabled the comments, so you'll have to take it out on your loved ones instead.

This blog will be running exclusive bonus content for the whole month of February (Just press a signed copy of the pamphlet and your face to the screen and whisper, 'I love you, Luke Kennard' six-to-eight times to unlock). In all likelihood this will prove so popular that I shall "monetise" the blog and start raking in the kablingy. OR, my null hypothesis will be proven correct: that one's web-presence isn't worth a damn in a cultural buyers' market and that not only poetry, but the novel, the movie, the short story, the singer-songwriter, the computer game, the casual computer game, driving licences, fruit salads, pop music, the high brow, the low brow and the middle brow are all dead and we will be remembered as the generation what killed them. Sadface.