What you’ll find here is, hopefully, plenty of ideas about why poetry and verse still matter in the 21st century, why they need constant help against their ‘elites’, and why rhymes and quattrains may still have a place in the poetic tool-kit – if the hope is to engage workaday majorities not educated in, or teaching at, ‘Creative Writing Schools’.
So you will see plenty of examples of my own attempts since the 1980s, aided and abetted by Bertie Ramsbottom, to seduce the outcasts of international business into the fold, using such unsublime media as the Financial Times and Harvard Business Review. There was critical acclaim, in due course, for my international anthology ‘The Poetry of Business Life’ in 1994, with the work of many ‘real’ poets involved; and a vigorous, unfinished debate started on how poetry’s ‘language of evocation’ might humanise ‘the arid deserts of our businesses’ (Charles Handy).
And, against all the assumed tenets of respectable poetry, the actualities of banking, economics, boardrooms, the role of women, markets, Wall Street and the City were incisively laid bare, week by week, to an – in poetry terms – unprecedented readership. See them all, somewhere below.
‘Poet Laureate of the Boardroom, Bertie Ramsbottom’s verses have caught the imagination of Financial Times readers the world over.’
Financial Times, London
‘We agree with Bertie’s admirers. These pieces are delightful‘
Harvard Business Review, USA
And what of poetry’s tool kit and techniques? More to come on that; but what better start than a few words from one of my contemporary, totally untouchable, poetry heroes.
‘I’m trying to get rid of the mystique as much as possible. And so I find myself wanting to write very simply cut, very contracted, very speakable, and very challenging quatrains in rhymes. Any other shape seems ornate, an elaboration on the cube that really is the poem. So we can then say that the craft is as ritualistic as that of a carpenter putting down his plane and measuring his stanzas and setting them squarely.’
That’s Derek Walcott. And from the man who sees ‘rhyme’ in terms of ‘sounds coupling to form a memory’ that seems not too bad a place to start!