Thursday, March 12, 2015

There's always something worth working on


Every teacher knows the look.  Eyes that stare and don’t see.  The look of blank incomprehension.  I know it too, not only from years of experience, but also from last night!
            It is one thing to have a class not know what you are on about, it is quite another to have fellow poets in your Poetry Group look at you in the same way.
            I was, I must say, quietly pleased with my effort from the freewrite, which was on ‘conflict’ and I had taken on board a suggestion from Maria, the group leader that evening, to think about the concept of whether the word or the sword was the more powerful.  This came out as a rather odd scenario in my writing where, in the poem, I burned a copy of Macbeth and then there were a few phrases from the play and . . . OK, I know it sounds a bit odd, but it seemed crystal clear to me when I wrote it.  Not crystal clear to the others and they were experienced poetry readers and writers.
            I brooded on the reception of my piece and I was loath to let it go.  This morning and this afternoon I have been working on it and, eventually I got something which I think is a little clearer than the original.
            A few changes, quite important changes, and I think it reads a little better.  You can read my present draft of the poem, Torture, at: And I would appreciate comments!

Eating out again!

Lunch yesterday was a bit of a disaster, it was frankly awful, and we were not surprised that the restaurant is for sale.  I hope the sale goes through quickly and new management makes the eating experience rather better than it was!  I shall protect the guilty here and not name it, except to say that it is next to a waterfall on a roundabout – which narrows it down a bit!  I hope the owners succeed in their next enterprise because the restaurant trade is not for them.
            So, today we went to a tried and tested restaurant within walking distance of us (and if you know me, that means it is very near) and had an excellent meal.  This was in the restaurant that some friends will be staying in when they come for the United Nations Day Meal in October – The Solifemar.  For €14 each we had an introductory glass of vermouth, a three course meal, coffee and a shot after.  I also had a bottle of wine with Casera thrown in too.  Oh yes, with bread, olives and a few crisps too!  Now that is what I call value for money!
            You can check out a selection of restaurants we have patronized by going to Toni’s blog at:

Freedom short lived

The brief relaxation which came with the sending in of the pro forma has now officially ended and I am deep in the theoretical justifications and explanations for Conceptual Art.  I will give you a flavour of what we have to read in one of the more approachable comments in our text book: 

But the development of Conceptual Art was in part impelled by a perception that the increasing co-option of art to a modernist culture of spectacle had been achieved at the expense of its critical and subversive content.  

So there!  Disagree if you dare!
          To be fair the books that we have to read, if taken in bits and read carefully, guide you fairly clearly through a minefield of pretention.  And you have to keep a firm hold of your sense of reality as you look at some of the art work that we are supposed to be considering.
            For example.  Take a piece by Lawrence Weiner.  The title of the piece is A River Spanned, 1969 and the photograph that we have of it is from the exhibition ‘When Attitudes become Form’ Institute of Contemporary Art, London, September 1969.  The exhibit takes the form of a card with: 116  LAWRENCE WEINER A River Spanned 1969 typed on it.  The curator of the exhibition took the decision, as he was fully entitled to do by the artist, not to realise the work but merely to put the card there as an indication of what might be done.  He could, as he suggested, have fired a line across the Thames attached to an arrow and therefore, spanned the river.  But he decided not to.
            So that is the sort of stuff that we are looking at now.  It makes André’s bricks and Judd’s metal boxes look positively fussy by comparison! 
            And I have to write an essay on things like this as well! 
            I’m loving it!

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