Daily Archives: January 23, 2018

Accessibility vs Elitism

melaniebranton

A somewhat inflammatory article by Rebecca Watts in the latest PN Review has been engendering some lively discussion amongst my friends this week. Don’t read it if you’re a spoken word artist – it will make you very cross, especially if you’re an admirer of Hollie McNish, whom Watts repeatedly misrepresents, in an oddly personal attack.

I’ve shot my mouth off about this article on Facebook quite a bit and I don’t want to repeat everything I’ve said there, but I do want to address the accessibility vs elitism argument, which seems to be endlessly rehashed amongst poets of all leanings.

If you strip away the gratuitous nastiness, Watts’s article does make some valid points. I share some of her disquiet about the modern cult of “honesty” in poetry – the idea that a poem’s value lies in how true or keenly felt the content is, not in how well…

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Shutdown Sonnet by Angela Gabrielle Fabunan

I am not a silent poet

Who knew the word shutdown would cause such chaos?
After all, we shutdown the computer every day,
shut the cell off, shut the door, have a seat,
turn down the lights, we should be accustomed to it.

Because for governments who shut some people out
and shuts down most, this is not an anomaly—
what more can we expect from those who don’t know
the difference between the shutter of a gun and #trigger.

We shudder in the grasp of the twittering elite
who refuse to flick open their country’s doors
to the tired and the poor and the huddled masses,
it’s utter sublimation, a feat, turning away from disaster.

“Shut up!” No way you’re going to shoot me
Down, to yet another paper crumpling in your palm.

*credit:

line 11 is taken from Emma Lazarus “The New Colossus”

line 12 is taken partly from Edith Tiempo “Bonsai”

and partly…

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