Sunday 17 September 2023

Poetry trends - Metaphors

In Acumen 107 (Sep 2023), Andrew Gleary writes "There are poets who would use metaphor had not all metaphors been workshopped out of their writing because metaphor is presently unfashionable".

Maybe so. Metaphors go in and out of fashion. There are extreme views about their value -

  • "the damn function of simile, always a displacement of what is happening ... I hate the metaphors", Robert Creeley
  • "Metaphor is the whole of poetry. ... Poetry is simply made of metaphor ... Every poem is a new metaphor inside or it is nothing", Robert Frost

20th century UK Poetry had Surrealism, [political] Realism, The Apocalyptics (Dylan Thomas et al), The Movement, and Martian poetry (Craig Raine, etc). One could interpret each as a reaction to the previous movement, though no doubt influences were more complex than that.

If metaphor is unfashionable nowadays, it may be because the poet and the poem's subject matter have a higher priority. It feels to me that we're in an age where previously suppressed voices are being given space. Minorities (by virtue of race, sexuality, mentality, etc) are out of their niches and have something to say which can be as important as how it is said.

Wednesday 13 September 2023


Some bookshops I've seen in my travels -

  • Dublin

  • Holland

  • Turin

  • Edinburgh

  • Istanbul

  • Sweden

  • Egypt

  • Glasgow

  • Nottingham (5 leaves)

  • An ex-bookshop, with pictures of books

Wednesday 6 September 2023

Stockholm and Lombardy

In Sweden I went straight to the university town of Uppsala before having a little taste of the archipelago - Artipelag, Vaxholm, etc. I've read a novel about the second-home life-style in the area. I can see its attractions. Back in town I went to the Photography museum and a smart suburban university campus. I went to 3 big charity shops. One had an Alan Titchmarsh novel in English. I resisted.

From there I flew to Bergamo where I visited some places in Lombardy that I've known for 30 years or so. 10 degrees hotter than Sweden. We had beer and a meal on a hill overlooking Lecco. We dropped some donations off at the museum of local history - a ration book, a sewing machine, a wooden plate. In a village I found a book-exchange cabinet with just the sort of page-turner thriller I can cope with in Italian. So I've enough reading material for a while.