Thursday, 26 January 2012

Poetry Seminars Continued

I've had a really good week, and then came the poetry seminar.

We were lulled into a false sense of security at first, re-writing 'Row Row Row Your Boat' in different poetic forms. I thought "this is ok, this is a bit like primary school." How wrong I was.

For next week we have to write sonnets. That's fine, no problem, I can learn how to write a sonnet. Then we were told we had to write love sonnets. I thought that I could probably do that at a stretch if I made it deliberately vague, fictitious and light-hearted (I mean, not only do we have to write it down on paper but we have to read it out loud to other humans.) Then it got worse.

It became, 'Love and/or Eroticism' which then poetry. Sex poetry. We are all terrified of having to write ANY poetry in the first place, let alone sex poetry. We have fourteen words we have to put in to our sex poems (one for each line of a sonnet) including 'fuck', 'thrust' and 'scratch.' I like, can't. A few people were planning on being mysteriously ill next week, but I feel the braver option is to write a poem, sticking to the rules of a sonnet and using the key words, about how much I don't want to write and read out a sex poem. So far all I have is:

'Fuck, I don't want to write a sex poem
I'm going to thrust over to another university'

It's a work-in-progress, admittedly. Sex poems were not mentioned in the course booklet. We were not forewarned of this at the open day. I feel this is quite a dramatic and sudden jump from 'Row Row Row Your Boat.'

Saturday, 21 January 2012

Poetry (Don't worry, not actual poetry)

Narrative theory last term was pretty scary. We occasionally had to write stuff and read it aloud in front of other people. That is nothing compared to the sheer horror of this term's poetry module.

If there was a module called 'Nudity Theory and Practice,' in which a group of us went to a seminar room, took off all our clothes and talked about what we look like naked, it would be only slightly scarier than having to write poetry and show it to other people. Ok, I exaggerate, but there's a reason why if I write poetry it is funny and rhyming.

First of all we had to find our way to the seminar room, at five o'clock in the evening, in the dark, through a winding maze of corridors. The seminar room has three glass walls, so we are completely surrounded by darkness. We all just kind of sat there not looking each other in the eyes, as if it was Sex Addicts Anonymous (it felt worse than alcoholism) or as if we were all about to play a completely sober game of strip poker.

Then the seminar tutor asked us to raise our hands if we ever read poetry for fun, in our own time. It was literally just me and some guy called Nathan. Then we were asked if we were all scared shitless (not her exact words) about writing poetry for this course, and everyone raised their hands and giggled nervously.

The thing that I dread the most is if someone in the seminar had a traumatic childhood, writes a poem about it, reads it out, and then cries. I can see that happening. Particularly after I've just read out something jovial and Dr Seuss like, and the seminar tutor's like "Thanks for that Anne, and now on to Caroline*, with her poem about sexual abuse."

I suppose I'll see next week.

*There is no Caroline.

Tuesday, 3 January 2012


Well, 2011 was fantastic. Backpacking around Australia, starting university, all that was really very good. In fact it was the best year so far (not in recorded history, I heard 1969 was pretty good, I mean in my life.)

It may be because 2011 was so great, but I am not yet warming to 2012. I personally don't believe the world is going to end, but so far there have been moments when it felt like it might. For example, yesterday I didn't feel particularly well, and then the internet died for no reason. I began to sharpen my weapons for the apocalypse.

Today I went to the dentist, because I had some really important top-secret information which needed to be tortured out of me by some sadists. "This should be your normal teeth cleaning routine" said the dentist, as he tried to extract as much blood from my gums as possible. "You should do this every night for the rest of your life."

Not only was I subject to this torture ("Are you alright?" the dentist asked, as he and his evil assistant cleaned my teeth using what felt like a cattle prod and a vacuum cleaner. He'd numbed my gums and I was unable to answer with anything other than "Aarrghh") but I have to subject myself to this every single night, sometimes at university, while drunk. There is of course, a chance that I might die. I could lose several pints of blood and collapse, a limp corpse, into my sink, surrounded by floss and interdental brushes. Forget zombies, floods and plagues of locusts, this is the end of the world.

Tomorrow I'm going to the opticians. Maybe they'll tell me that the way to achieve 20/20 vision is to, every night, stab myself repeatedly in the eyeballs.