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I don't like poetry, but
2010-11-13: I don't like poetry. Well, that's how it's been since not quite getting into Ted Hughes at school (1977) when others did. I've wanted to, for all those years. I know, in principle, the power, the nakedness, the reality, the purity, the DIY now .. the potential of poetry. I went to a poetry night once and read some Ivor Cutler, so I have tried, but I don't like daffodils much.
The problem with the Internet is that you're at the helm. You take it where you want to. You find out things that uphold your belief system. You like the bands you like, the clothes you like, the foods you like. It's what defines you. (Except, secretly, marketers are listening, watching, whispering, opening some doors and closing others, but let's not get into that now).
So when someone like John Peel dies, we lose an awful lot. Sometimes we need to get out of ourselves or we'll end up scratching our own eyes out with boredom: "Geeze, another chicken Jalfrezi, aren't I bored with myself yet?"
People like Peel guide us to new things. They help us find new stuff. Open us up. The world's very big and very cruel and I know it's hard to face what's out there. But if you don't, one day, it'll pull out one of your trendy iPod earphones when you least expect it and whisper you something that'll make your ileum knot.
And so it was, that Hollie McNish appeared out of the silence on Woman's Hour and showed me that poetry really is one of those things we have, we can do. Our true voice. Ours. Uninfluenced. No equipment necessary. You can do it right now. Like hugging and cooking and looking out for a friend. Revolutionary acts nowadays.
So now I can't say I don't like poetry any more because Hollie was my tipping point (and James Koppert got me to the edge). So now I have more than a handful of people that speak to me through poetry. My kinda people. Here they are:
Then there's Shelley's The Mask of Anarchy.
It's a bloody horrible word, serendipity, but we do need it. Do something to get more serendipity in your life.
PS. I'm the same way with folk music but haven't reached the tipping point yet.

By John Allsopp
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