On Doing the Wrong Thing

Of course it is all subjective, but you know when you’ve done the wrong thing.
I’m on LinkedIn. There are several writers forums. I joined one and started a discussion claiming I was looking for a rhyme for orange, in order to complete a poem for my second book. It was truly a case of a hot afternoon, nothing to do and the devil making work.
The comments I got back were a hilarious mix of the truly helpful and supportive, to the sniffy, Oxford-Don-ish decrying of the end of poetry. After 200 or so comments I posted that orange was too hard to rhyme, and that I would be changing my tack and replacing it with banana, and that I was looking for rhymes which would imbue my poem with foreboding.
Now, one of the nicer commentators enjoyed the mischief but did nudge me to feeling guilty. Was I taking the piss? Kind of. It was probably the wrong thing to do.

Commit the crime, expect punishment.

Commit the crime, expect punishment.

But I once went on a seminar with Michael Laskey and Peter Sansom where we were invited to choose and advocate for a favourite first collection of poems. I chose Bonobos, Chris Preddle; I cant recall many others, except Ed Reiss chose a similarly “uneven” writer. Though Preddle is anything but lacking in skill and intelligence. The outcome of the conversation was circling on how a certain energy comes from writers who take chances, who get things “wrong” , whatever that means. Clearly this needs further discussion: what the meaning is is that you know there are more “even” books written. This is not necessarily positive. In fact, I would argue, the opposite.

Wrong could mean many things. Out of prevailing style, at odds with the familiar. I very much like Joey Connolly’s comments in his Poetry Review article about “flawlessness” as a criticism being levelled at some. What a delicious concept. So counter-intuitive for many. So humane. Orange rhymes with banana. Wrongly. Wonderfully.

A banorange. Common in Wiltshire.


About grahamcliffordpoet

Graham is an award winning poet, based in London. He graduated from the University of East Anglia with an MA in Creative Writing, and has since published nationally and internationally, winning many awards and performing at some of the most prestigious and well known Literary Festivals. His debut collection, The Hitting Game, is published by Seren.
This entry was posted in autopsy, Banorange, Chris Preddle, commentary, creative writing, Ed Reiss, Michael Laskey, mistakes, modern poetry, poetry, Publishing, respect, Writing and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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