Phil has been following and contributing to my National Poetry Month project since the first year I did it. He lives in Hull, Yorkshire, which is a city with a great history of gritty, mouthy, sharply brilliant poets. When he discovers something new that he likes, I file it away to share during April. They've been some of my favorite posts over the last few years, and I particularly love this one. Russ Litten is a local Hull poet, and he teaches a creative writing class in a prison (read a little more about that on his website). Phil is guest reading today.
Click the title of the poem to listen.
Every Monday morning I stand up
before twenty or so disinterested faces
slouched around library tables
and tell them
about the possibilities of poetry
and the prospect of escape.
It's a poor joke, and some mornings
it goes down less well
Like this morning,
one sullen soul flinging rancour
from the back of the room:
What's that for then?
Yeah, but what do you get at the end of it?
Do you get paid?
So what use is that to me?
And I said
(quoting Scargill quoting his Dad)
"...the quality of your life depends upon
your ability to manipulate words..."
Does it fuck, he
by Russ Litten