A week or so ago I wrote a poem – the first one I’d written for over a year, as it happens. Like most of my poems, it had a vaguely humorous slant, although – initially at least – it didn’t rhyme or have any sort of regular metre. Then I took a look at it and thought that a spot of rhyme and metre wouldn’t actually go amiss, and I came up with something that I felt worked pretty well. I could read that out in one of the local folk clubs where I sometimes bag a floor spot and it would probably get a few laughs.
But first, I thought it would be nice to get it published somewhere. I like having stuff published by someone else, because it means that I’ve managed to smuggle it past a gatekeeper. I know it’s not just me who thinks it has merit.
However, I struggled to think who might publish this one. The late, much-lamented Every Day Poets would certainly have given it consideration. The Pygmy Giant might also have taken a look, but they’re not taking poetry any more. But I couldn’t really think of anyone else.
Round about the same time, I was watching in admiration as Brian Bilston’s Unbound campaign was roaring to its triumphant end and I wondered which poetry magazine might have published his stuff. I’m not claiming any parity of talent, by the way – BB is, quite frankly, a God among poets. The only thing we have remotely in common is that (I think) we both prioritise humour in our work.
At this point, I was going to go off on a rant about how poetry (and, probably, the whole literary establishment) has a problem with humour, but I realised that I was going to end up exposing myself to endless arguments about the nature of comedy (“What about so-and-so? We published a comic poem by him once” “Well, I didn’t think it was funny”) and I had a life to get on with.
Jonathan Pinnock (ed)