Monday, December 28, 2009

New Year's Resolutions - Bovine Avoidance

I've just come back from a week in Northumberland. We stayed near Lindisfarne and, in such northern climes, my thoughts naturally turned to the simplicity of Celtic Christianity - the uncomplicated life, the closeness to nature - and to Basil Bunting. Here is the great man's advice to aspiring poets:


1. Compose aloud; poetry is a sound.
2. Vary rhythm enough to stir the emotion you want but not so as to lose impetus.
3. Use spoken words and syntax.
4. Fear adjectives; they bleed nouns. Hate the passive.
5. Jettison ornament gaily but keep shape

Put your poem away till you forget it, then:

6. Cut out every word you dare.
7. Do it again a week later, and again.

Never explain - your reader is as smart as you.

We could all do to remember such advice in the coming year; and maybe take time out to visit places like Holy Island, and get away from the bull that seems to be endemic in our culture.

Happy New Year.

No comments: