Friday, 24 September 2010

This Injustice Shall Not Stand!

Lara Pawson seeks to address a burning injustice in our society in the pages of CiF.

Underclass families breeding and abusing children on the taxpayer dime? No.

The scandal of the so-called ‘Court of Protection’? Not quite.

I’ll give you a clue…
It is a shame that Cardinal Walter Kasper was, in the end, unable to make the trip to our "third-world country". If his health had held out, I would have invited him to accompany me to The Tabernacle, a drinking spot in London's Notting Hill, for the launch of a groundbreaking anthology of poetry written by some of the UK's most inspiring new poets.
Eh..? Poetry? Just how could poetry be involved in a burning injustice?

Easy. Like this:
One of the reasons Ten matters is because it redresses a gross imbalance, namely that under 1% of poetry books published in the UK are by black or Asian poets.
Oh noes! Scandal! Hold the front page!
"This is, quite simply, not fair," says one of the anthology's editors, Bernardine Evaristo. "And we all know that 'fairness' is a traditional, core British value."
In what way is it ‘not fair’?
A week before the launch of Ten, Hunt told delegates at the Media Festival Arts that he is firmly in favour of "broadening participation" in the arts and is "very ashamed" that we still live in a country "where many, many people don't get a chance to access the arts".
I can think of lots of things to feel ashamed about, but not the lack of opportunities to see the arts.

But then, I’m not currently supping with the Media Festival Arts. How were the canapés, Hunt?
Sounds hopeful, doesn't it? Unfortunately, what he said next was not: "The debate has got to move on from the kind of box-ticking targets approach that says that in return for your grant from the Arts Council, you will get so many people from particular ethnic or social backgrounds."
Huzzah! Surely, this is good news?
How exactly is the Arts Council to interpret this? Should it now be striving to fund projects that mimic the largely white, male, privately educated, Oxbridge cabinet of which Hunt is such a fortunate part?
No, it merely means that they should be colour-blind – reward good poetry, no matter who writes it.
Seriously, though, the poets who comprise the Ten anthology are not colourful ticks in boxes, but talented poets in their own right.
Then they should be similarly in favour of colour-blind policies.
These are committed, hard-working artists: they don't want charity; they want equality.
Sounds like they are on the same page as Hunt, then, surely?

And certainly not the same page as this chap:
"Mainstream poetry presses need to open their lists up to new black and Asian voices now – not in three, 10 or 20 years," says Evaristo, who laments that Faber has only published two non-white poets in 80 years – Linton Kwesi Johnson and Daljit Nagra, who co-edited Ten. "One hopes that it won't be another 80 years before another such poet makes the list."
Hey, it might be, if no-one comes along who’s any good at poetry…

9 comments:

Zaphod said...

Only piece of poetry l ever wrote and even then l stole the idea for it :-

We are the Wind and the Oak


You, the Wind, deceive by your soothing seductive breath
For underneath lies your destructive passion for pastures new
No longer content, you erupt in a fierce rage
Everything must give, for nothing can withstand you


My seeds of life are stripped from me and I strain in defiance
The scars and pain I suffer bear witness that you have gone
I do not know where your desires have taken you
Nor do I any longer care


Yet, your passing creates life between us
For little Oaks now grow
And as they grow I become stronger to resist your storms
For now, we are Family


I cannot stop you returning, nor want to
For the little ones still need your caress
The sadness is that I, the Oak, know where home is
Whereas you, the Wind, will never know yours

...............................



Now, if l say l'm black or asian do you think l'll get a grant or something? :)

Smoking Hot said...

and even then l used my co-authors account! Doh!

Angry Teen said...

"A week before the launch of Ten, Hunt told delegates at the Media Festival Arts that he is firmly in favour of "broadening participation" in the arts and is "very ashamed" that we still live in a country "where many, many people don't get a chance to access the arts"."

Most people in the country do have a chance to see the arts. However, a lot of them just don't want to.

I found it impossible to drag along some friends to see an art exhibition.

Were they "disadvantaged"? Did someone deny them the opportunity to see art? Hell no – they live in London, which has more art to offer than anywhere else in Britain. They just don't give a shit about art.

And if the individual—who knows what is best for them more than anybody else—would rather not access the arts, what exactly is the problem with that?

Edwin Greenwood said...

"Now, if l say l'm black or asian do you think l'll get a grant or something? :)"

Tell them you're a one-legged Muslim Lesbian of mixed Nigerian-Pakistani heritage and they'll give you the entire Lottery Fund and a year's supply of Popes on a Rope. (Or is that Pope on a Ropes?)

I am Stan said...

Its an OUTRAGE I tell ya,Im a brill poet me,where`s me check?

Im a poet dont you know it,
I rhyme all the time,
Im the man with a tan,
Send me cash in a van.

See Im brill me innit !!!!

staybryte said...

EJ Thribb is away...

Anonymous said...

Tell 'I am Stan'
that he's a man
so cant joint the clan
he has the wrong bits
and not even tits
or things that would indicate a female and lesbian disposition.

JuliaM said...

"Now, if l say l'm black or asian do you think l'll get a grant or something? :)"

Almost certainly.. :)

"Most people in the country do have a chance to see the arts. However, a lot of them just don't want to."

And there's the problem. For the art world, that is...

"See Im brill me innit !!!!"

It's certainly better than a lot of government-funded stuff! Mind you, so's Vogon poetry.. :)

Jill said...

Linton Kwesi Johnson has reached the dizzy heights of Penguin Classic!

I think what they are probably missing is that (wo)man cannot live by poetry alone. As Angry Teen says, not enough people want to access it. Poets, black, white or sky blue pink, will need to find a career which they can combine with writing - usually academia in some way. If the Arts Council is for anything, it shouldn't be for maintaining some kind of 'wage' for poets through grants.

There are plenty of black novelists - and there's a reasonable chance for some novelists to make a living. Ipso fatso.