WHAT ANNOYS – DELIGHTS – AND IS OFTEN UNEXPLAINED.
What is ANNOYING me this week?
People who moan about the same old things but never do anything about them.
What is DELIGHTING me this week?
A wooden, elastic band powered car.
Various versions of One Bourbon, One scotch, One beer.
My favourite is the John Lee Hooker version followed by the George Thorogood version.
I can’t think what the Glee version is like – maybe I’ll give that one a miss.
SOME OF MY DOINGS.
I am inspired by the Secret Writer’s, April Fools list of 40 things that she has never done before and wants to do before she reaches 41, you can see her progress on her blogspot.
My list is to find 50 lost poets. Poets who were either popular once but have gone out of favour, or had a modicum of success in their day and have been somewhat under appreciated.
The first poet on my list is Michael Drayton (1563-1631) who is often eclipsed by his contemporaries, William Shakespeare, Ben Jonson and John Donne. If these four had been the Beatles then Michael Drayton would have been George Harrison. A very talented writer, who was overshadowed by the extra-ordinary talents of those around him. Though having said that, I would not want to say which of the other three would be Ringo Starr.
Drayton was born in Hartshill, Warwickshire, to a farming family, who were tenants of Sir Henry Goodere of Polesworth. It was Sir Henry who brought young Michael to Polesworth as a page and provided him with an education in the school room above the Abbey Gatehouse. Drayton developed his poetic skills in the company of thePolesworth Circle, which included Jonson and Donne, along with the architect Inigo Jones.
Drayton wrote his Ideas Mirror, a set of sonnets that declared his love for an unknown lady, who we now know to be his patron’s daughter Anne Goodere, his love was unrequited and Anne went on to marry another, but she remained friends with Michael and the other poets and they were often guests at her marital home in Clifford Chambers. See http://www.bartleby.com/214/1004.html for more details.
Ideas Mirror contains one of the poems that we have included on the Poets Trail, To the River Ancor, where Drayton confides in the river of his love for Anne and how she inspires him along with the forest Arden which he alludes to the Greek poets comparing it to the valley of Tempe and the river itself, which he considers his Helicon.
Another poem in the series is perhaps his best known “Since there is no help let us kiss and part”. The full collection can be read at http://www.luminarium.org/editions/idea.htm
Perhaps his other best known work is PolyOlbion, his description of the landscape ofEngland, which to me as poet who explores landscapes is a treasure of descriptive, historical verses that allow us to compare the landscape four hundred years ago with our landscape today. PolyOlbion, Many Albions or Many Englands is a concept that still hold true today with the many diverse cultures and traditions that make up our country. Along with the development of the land, through the industrial revolution and now the industry has waned, the re-generation of the natural environment as we have seen at Pooley. I wonder how much of the landscape Drayton would recognise if he were to wander around Polesworth today.
PolyOlbion was written using Dr Philemon Holland’s translation ofCamden’s Britannia, as it clearly follows the same structure asCamden’s work. Dr Holland lived and practiced inCoventryand it is most likely that Drayton had access to his translation. More recently Paul Farley revisited PolyOlbion with his Electric PolyOlbion for the BBC.
A reprint of Polyolbion in three parts is available from Amazon
The Leicester poet Matt Merritt is also a promoter of all things Draytonian and has his PolyOlbion blogspot at http://polyolbion.blogspot.com/
Matt will be the guest poet at the Fizz in July.
The classroom where Drayton was taught is now part of the development of the holiday lets at Polesworth Abbey Gatehouse.
I admire Drayton, most of all for following his own path, writing on subjects that interested him, his language and style maybe of his day, but it is never-the-less engaging. The cottage where he was born is no longer there and his classroom is now a lounge come dining room. However the fireplace in front of which he wrote Idea’s mirror is still there and this is now our Tempe as poets place their hands upon it before reading at the Fizz.
My list of lost poets is included after my Coming Soon Doings, watch it as it grows.
Last week saw me reading through the submitted poems and making my selections, which will be discussed with the other judges before the final selection is made. This has been a particularly hard task as there are so many great poems.
I am meeting over Easter with the other main judge to decide our final selections to be presented to the group for confirmation. Then the work can begin with the interpretations into the installations, in time for them to be installed in early July.
It was good to see some sunshine this weekend, let’s hope it lasts. After Easter I will be working with two poets to make films of their poems, one a suspense filled montage that will be filmed at night, the other retracing a walk to meet a love, with a twist at the end.
Tonight sees me at the Shindig in Leicester and Thursday at a meeting to discuss Nuneaton’s Summer Day of Poetry – followed by Spoken Worlds at its new location The Old Cottage Inn –Burton-upon-Trent.
COMING SOON DOINGS
Just a couple of readings in April.
18th April – Shindig Leicester – The Western, Western Ave, Leicester. – 7:30pm
22nd April – Spoken Worlds – The Old Cottage Inn – Burton-on-Trent. – 7:30pm
List of Lost Poets.
1. Michael Drayton – See Blog 18th April 2011.