Thursday Thoughts

Told You Shakespeare Was Bad!

I Told You Shakespeare Was Bad (1)

Regular readers of Inside the Mind of Davy D know about the fractious relationship I have with William Shakespeare. As time has progressed I have learned to appreciate him a little more. The love deepened in October 2017 when it was revealed students at Cambridge University were having to be given warnings, alerting them some of his works, like Titus Adronicus and The Comedy Of Errors, could be upsetting; the warnings given to help protect student’s mental health. You can read contrasting reports from these links at The Guardian and Daily Mail.

Maybe I missed a trick, but wouldn’t someone have noticed, and discussed at length, the content of Shakespeare’s poetry and plays over the past 400 years. Cambridge University defended the action saying it wasn’t a general University policy, but it was down to the discretion of individual lecturers as to whether warnings were issued to students.

This is just one example of an over protection culture taking hold in the UK and every day is beginning to feel like the 1st of April. Watch any TV channel and you will see telephone numbers for helplines at the end of programmes for anything liable to offend any human sensibility. Although they have merit, are things becoming overprotective to the point where the realities of life are being hidden or at least distorted?

As a writer this has an impact. Working a path through this culture of over protection can restrict the writer’s freedom of expression, which in turn affects the writing and poetry. For example, a few weeks ago I was working on a piece of poetry reflecting something I experienced in my time as a Police Officer. Throughout the drafting process the questions of, Will this word or graphic description offend anyone? What if someone has had this kind of experience? Do I need to place a warning or alert at the start of the poem? played on my mind. In the end the poetry was so safe it was hardly worth the effort, as the emotion had bled out of it.

I am not talking here about poetry or writing which is offensive or hurtful to any group or individual, there are laws in both civil and criminal statutes taking care of those issues. I am focusing more on words which accurately portray and reflect the world we live in, and our opinions in how we navigate through it. I think most poets and writers are mindful of the effect their words will have with specific audiences and self-censor to a point, but sometimes hearing a view or opinion taking us out of our comfort zone can lead to more informed conversations.

As a poet and writer, what are your thoughts on writing in a culture of over protection? Maybe this is something relevant only to the UK and you live in a country where freedom of expression is exactly that. Or, is it the opposite where in the words of Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington you, “publish and be damned.”

 

Run Your Own Race

Run Your Own Race

It is that time again when the inbox is full of tips and advice about setting goals and making New Year’s resolutions. The phrase for 2018 seems to be “Run Your Own Race” and this is a good starting point for the first Thursday Thoughts.

Life feels like it’s getting quicker and 2017 went in a flash. At times I felt like Usain Bolt (in mind, not in body.) One of my challenges in 2017 was to post on Inside the Mind of Davy D each Monday to Friday. Apart from one week I managed it, but I reached the finishing line a little exhausted and needing a strategy to run a different kind of race in 2018.

Two pieces of writing I read in the last week had an impact on me and provided some ideas on how my race in 2018 will look. Gina, over at Singledust, wrote an excellent post, What am I thankful for? giving time for reflection and recognising the good things we have in our lives. This made me realise sometimes we need to slow down and look back in the race to see how far we have come, applauding ourselves on the steps we have taken.

Fiona, on her Wordsworth Muse blog, wrote a beautiful poem titled Butterfly Daze.  One of the lines, “Because they have so little time to live,” reinforced the seed left by Gina and planted the thought maybe we need to have the occasional time out from the race, take a few deep breaths and spend time looking at our surroundings and getting to know more about the people we are racing with.

So, for 2018, I am taking off the sprinting spikes and putting on the carpet slippers and my race is going to be more of a ramble. I will still be posting Monday to Friday, but when I need to take a time out……… I will.

Some of you may have seen my Poetic Goals for 2018 and although they were a little tongue in cheek they express the notion of getting deeper into poetry. This means taking time to reflect and exploring my motivations and inspirations as a poet and experimenting with different styles of writing and poetry. It also involves getting to know more about the writers and poets in this excellent writing community, and finding others who can add to the conversation.

At times in 2017 it just felt like a brief hello and wave before racing off into the distance. The purpose of Thursday Thoughts is to try and address the imbalance and deepen and share the love we have for all things poetic.

Slowing down, more time for reflection, getting deeper into poetry and knowing you all better, the pulse rate is dropping already.  How will your writing race look in 2018?  It would be nice to read your thoughts.

 

Thursday Thoughts

Why I write Poetry

One of the best thing things for me about blogging is the interaction and conversation taking place around the poems and poetry. On Inside the Mind of Davy D the favourite posts are those going beyond the poetry and getting to know the poet, what makes them tick; their thoughts, their motivations, their dreams.

 

As a development for the blog in 2018 I am going to have a Thursday Thoughts feature which will hopefully allow us to delve deeper into poetry and beyond the poems themselves. This will include thoughts I have as I research and read for the various projects I am involved with and links to information which may be useful to anyone working with poetry.

 

It will also showcase some of the amazing poetry and talent I encounter on WordPress on a day to day basis. Thursday Thoughts will include links to blogs firing the muse, poems that have moved me to think deeper about the words I encounter and anything else planting a seed for poetry; a piece of music, art, book, photograph.

 

If anyone has any ideas or inspiration that may create some conversation as a Thursday Thought then please let me know. Together we can make 2018 a great year for poetry.