Sunday, April 24, 2016

Reasoning Through Rhyme

Somewhat surprised, but pleased, to see a couple of pages headed Rhyme & Reason in yesterday's Straits Times which, according to an accompanying article, are slated to be the first in a regular series to last fifteen weeks, featuring a 'literary' prose piece and a poem relating to this island and what goes on in it. The accompanying article sounded a tad tentative, almost apologetic, about intruding upon readers' consciousness with this peculiar lit stuff, but its heart was in the right place.

Anyway, it was good to get no fewer than three poems from Edwin Thumboo, and be reminded of the possibility of a public, political kind of poetry in an age that seems so resolutely inward-looking. I suppose the prof might be seen as a 'safe' way to start the series, but it's going to be interesting to see just how edgy some of the material might get as it goes along. The great thing about getting political in a poem is that with reasonable cunning you can cover up just how subversive you really are. But the problem then is that no one actually understands you. Doh!

And then there's the possibility that someone whose politics are as fundamentally idiotic as those of old Willie Yeats ends up dealing in profound truths despite the silliness.

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