Dave Bonta and Dana Guthrie-Martin have come up with a fantastic idea for a poetry site. (I mean, that Dave's going to have to pull his finger out, he's only running a blog I only don't go to more often because I know if I do I could be there all day reading and following up links, then a one-a-day Shutterchance photoblog, a Twittering microblog, one for his homeplace, Pummer's Hollow, then doing qarrtsiluni, overseeing Festival of the Trees, and who know what else... Lazy git.)
Which is why I was more than pleased when they took my offering, which was 'written' on a facsimile old black and white photo from a museum we visited in Morbihan last year. It's here.
Inspired in part by Annie, who is alarmingly young and alarmingly clever, and has recently reappeared in this corner of the blogging universe, and who draws compulsively and excellently, including from films and telly while she watches them, I've taken to keeping notebook and pen with me while watching, lest I feel moved to doodle or scribble. I feel it also makes it a less passive experience. I like the way one notebook does all, so mine contains prose, poems, journallings, doodles, shopping lists, lesson plans etc. It is quite hard to buy plain or simply lined notebooks here, the French favour squares, vertical as well as horizontal divisions, which I have often thought perhaps said something about their mentality, but now I've found I'm rather used to them, and even find myself slightly daunted by a blanker page...
I've been enjoying some of BBC4's strand on the history of arts programming on TV, including John Berger's 'Ways of Seeing', which I missed both first and second times around, though I've read bits of the book. Also the block of editions of 'Monitor' on Sunday night. I'm too young to remember 'Monitor'; the reviews have been a bit sniffy and amused about it, referring to its 'cobwebby charm', and saying you really have to be more interested in the subject matter than caring about the style of it, but to me it just feels like coming home. I gaze at the grainy black and white footage, listen to Huw Weldon's dry patrician tones, and slip comfortably into a premature (maybe...) state of fartish old reactionaryism and think 'Ah, now this is how arts documentaries should be!'
I enjoyed Henry Moore at home, so deceptively gentle and unassuming, saying how he had to stop reading Neumann's book about archetypes in his work, because, he said in effect, if he found out to much about why he did what he did he might have to stop doing it.
And I loved the Betjeman/Larkin film. (Sorry, I can't really find any links worth bothering with for this...). The first part, with Betjeman on the beach in Lincolnshire, 'Tennyson's county... three-quarters sky', looking across at Hull, I could have hung on my wall in all its monochrome gorgeousness. I'm not a Larkin expert at all; I know he was not a particularly nice person, and revelations since his death have revealed more of his sad- and seediness, but like many people, I have in my life often been stayed and cold-comforted by his clear-eyed stoicism, his putting-his-finger-on-it observations of life, his facing the emptiness, his occasional pessimistic compassion and still more occasional compassionate optimism ( 'What will survive of us...'). Oddly, for all his iconic Grumpy Old Man status, I think he is a young person's poet. He showed us that beyond all the largely put-on romantic agony, the supposedly passionate political posturing, the generally tiresome and tiring earnestness of youth, it was possible to face the underlying fear of pointlessness, the knowledge that it's hard now and it doesn't get any easier, but that there might be a tolerable way through.
And I liked the rather embarrassed and inarticulate way he talked about the beauty of the evening skies over the river in Hull, as though to confess being impressed with something as cornily, naturally beautiful was somewhat letting the side down.
So, a couple of haiku that came with the doodle. They rhyme, which is probably the equivalent of drinking sake with burger and chips or something equally crass, but the first one did it of its own accord, and then it was easy to get the other one to do it.
Henry Moore on 'Monitor'
utterly sure, he'll mumble
but never stumble.
Larkin on 'Monitor'
Sunset on Hull, rose
and gold, y'know (sigh) there goes
~and another, which has nothing to do with the above and doesn't rhyme, but because I like haiku in threes.
Tom in red fleece, black
fleece leggings. Outside the jays
busy with acorns.
(Anyone any idea how to stop Blogger double spacing when you don't want it and doing it when you do?)