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Ant Smith
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National Poetry Day

Tuesday 14th June 2016 10:54pm

This is my journey, one year, when I inspected the concept of "National Poetry Day" through the lens of my natural healthy cynicism... remember the theme was "Stars" for christ's sake.

There had to be some grasping creative capitalist in it somewhere, question is how deeply in are they?

Was it totally started by this one company, or are they some late opportunistic pretender?

Wouldn't it be lovely if it all started in the back room of a pub, or even in some crone riddled community hut, but this world rarely works to such idylls and my suspicion is, it was a boardroom decision.

But where's the harm, so long as we're advancing the cause of poetry? Surely that's what matters?

Bullshit. Yeah, I'm sure that's what will matter to the career poets and the franchise poets - the promulgation of the poetic form to the masses. The generation of a whole new market that can feed the bastards. However lame, empty, and spectacle led you have to become. Stars. Fucking stars. God save me from starry metaphors.

On the other hand, if you care not about poetry itself but rather about what poetry can achieve within this pantheon of human endeavour then you will care greatly about how it is promoted, and what it comes to be. You will care more for the journey than for the destination. You will care about the fact that the touch of the capitalist makes you feel a little sick.

Let's not let them leach on our sweat and toil. Let's not let them claim the day after day after day of our efforts as being somehow the same thing as this imposed made up undemocratic National Poetry Day. Let's not tell the nation that poetry is about stars or next year it'll be bastard fucking kittens.

Picture of our Fanny as a kitten.

Hmmm. It looks as though I may have to accept NPD as being fundamentally okay.

The organisations behind it are publicly funded and reasonably open.

The Poetry society I know very little about, except to say they don't do much for me as a busy practicing poet - so it feels like there's something wrong there. But since we do have a so called Poetry Society the NPD is the right sort of thing for them to do.

Forward Press are also deeply involved, and they're also a charity. At one point I was doing really well in their competitions, which I took part in because they were free to enter. The anthologies they produced were somewhat pricey though and it started to feel to me like a disguised vanity publishing service. So I dropped out of bothering with them.

But, I didn't know they were a charity. Some of the stuff they publish is pretty horrible - but I believe strongly in there being no quality bar restriction on people who want to perform, so why not treat publishing the same. I think I miss judged them a tad.

So actually I think the only thing wrong with the NPD is the tweeness it's underpinning organisations imbue it with. And the way to fix that is to take part with something that is not twee.

So I will write a fucking stars poem.


There be rising stars

And falling stars

Even morning glory stars

And scary vampire evening stars

It seems that stars behave as though they like to move

There be giant stars

And dwarfen stars

Even binary bipolar stars

And claustrophobic holey stars

It seems that stars can sometimes find that they are ill

There be

White and red and yellow and brown

Stars of every hue

There even be stars of black and blue

It seems that stars can suffer torture and abuse

There are cepheid variable pulsating stars

Sometimes bright

Sometimes large

And that's the pantheon on view

Stars that act like me and you

The universal

In our room

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